By Ralph Nader
Everybody has heard or seen Donald Trump exude great pride over his business prowess, his business empire and that he estimates his net worth to be about $10 billion. He exalts his ability to negotiate complex deals with a wide range of business and financial interests. He has submitted his Federal Election Commission (FEC) forms. He has no legal obligation to release his very voluminous income tax reports – reportedly thousands of intriguing pages.
But if a presidential candidate is running, in significant part, on his business skills and accomplishments, credibility among voters invites public disclosure of his tax returns to allow assessment of his claims.
Mr. Trump is no ordinary taxpaying presidential candidate. The gap between his FEC reporting and his income tax reports is probably as vast as any presidential candidate in history. Mr. Trump is making the information in those tax filings over the years the basis for his claim that he, above all other candidates, has the business and negotiating skills to “make America great again.”
So in today’s Republican presidential debate, will any reporter or a competing candidate urge Mr. Trump to do what most voters would like to see done? Will he put his tax returns for the last several years on the Internet and let everyone interested see how grounded are his pretensions for leadership?