So far, the Republican nominee has refused to reveal his financial records.
By Elena Gooray
LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. (Photo: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)
Pressure continues to mount against Donald Trump to release his tax returns. Yesterday, Reid Hoffman, the billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn, pledged to support a Marine veteran-led Crowdpac campaign demanding that Trump release the records in exchange for charity donations. Though it is not legally required, the act of financial transparency has been adhered to by most presidential candidates for the last 40 years. Hoffman will match the campaign five to one, meaning he will donate $5 for every dollar it earns, all of it going to non-profits supporting veterans.
Hoffman is not the first public figure to make a dramatic bid for Trump’s tax returns. Millions of dollars have been pledged—and hypothetical imprisonment considered—in return for the presidential nominee’s financial records. One anonymous GOP donor offered $5 million in July to a veterans’ charity of Trump’s choice, Politicoreported. Two top newspaper journalists — New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet and Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward — said Sunday they would publish stories on Trump’s tax returns even if it meant serving jail time, according to CNN. For its own part, the Crowdpac campaign has raised more than $100,000 this week, meaning Hoffman will donate over $500,000.
Trump has promised to release his tax returns when his audit by the Internal Revenue Service is completed. The IRS has stated that he is free to release the records before the end of the review. Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers can take action to delay that formal process beyond the November elections, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Of 34 presidential and vice presidential candidates between 1976 and 2012, only seven declined to release tax records, Politifact found. Candidates varied in the number of years they released, with Mitt Romney sharing two years of reports and Barack Obama bringing his total to 11 years of records in 2012. The most tax-transparent presidential candidate to date has been Jeb Bush, who released 33 years’ worth of financial records.