A Democratic super PAC has come up with a new way to try to get Donald Trump’s tax information: by filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the Internal Revenue Service.
The political action group, the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, filed the FOIA request Monday, seeking all correspondence between Trump and the IRS. It is unclear whether the IRS can release such information, as it has traditionally safeguarded personal tax information according to strict taxpayer privacy laws. In addition, government agencies can take months, if not years, to respond to FOIA requests, and even when the information is released, it can be in partial or redacted form.
Trump has so far refused to release any of his tax returns, claiming they are under “routine audit” by the IRS, and it is unclear whether they will be released before the November election. Last Friday, Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and her running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, released their 2015 returns in an effort to pressure Trump (see Clintons Made $10.6 Million, Paid $3.6 Million Tax). Hillary and Bill Clinton noted they have released their tax returns going back to 1977.
The Democratic Coalition Against Trump believes a FOIA request might prove effective. The group pointed out the IRS has released similar information in the past in response to FOIA requests, and it argued there is a strong public interest case that the IRS should do the same for Trump, citing a quote from the IRS saying, “All IRS records are subject to FOIA requests.”
“The IRS has a responsibility to the American people to expose whether Trump is committing fraud by claiming he is under audit among other things,” said Democratic Coalition Against Trump senior advisor Scott Dworkin in a statement.
Jon Cooper, the Super PAC’s chairman, added, “Every presidential nominee in the modern era has told the American people about their financial history by releasing their tax returns. Donald Trump’s stubborn refusal to do the same adds to an incredibly long list of reasons why he’s unqualified to hold public office. Let’s put him back on reality TV where he belongs.”
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