Sunday, November 6, 2016
Slate: Keep Harping Over Trump’s Tax Returns, by Adam Chodorow (Arizona State):
His refusal to release them no longer feels like a first-order concern. But it’s one more broken norm that Americans will rue.
It’s fairly evident by now why Trump wouldn’t want his returns to be public—as I’ve written several times throughout the election cycle. There’s no reason to think he’ll reverse course and finally release them in the next week. But this goes far beyond Trump. Every major candidate for the past 26 years has released his or her tax returns, and we risk undermining this important tradition if we allow Trump’s refusal to get lost amid his other scandals and outrageous statements or concerns about Clinton’s emails. Just as candidates now release medical records to assure voters that they are fit for office, tax records are critical because they reveal a candidate’s potential conflicts of interest and commitment to honesty and integrity.
Trump’s refusal to produce records likely doesn’t make the top-five list of norms he has broken this election cycle, and if he loses, it likely won’t be cited as a key reason for his loss. But we can’t forget it. Rather, we should reaffirm our expectation that all major candidates for the highest office in the land should release their returns—and make clear that those who do not pay a stiff political price.