Sept. 28 (UPI) — Democrats on Sunday renewed calls for President Donald Trump’s tax records to be released to the public following a report that said he has not paid taxes in 10 of the last 15 years through to 2017.
Calls for Trump to release his tax records first began when he flaunted the longstanding practice of presidential candidates disclosing their financial records while running for the country’s highest office, claiming they were subject to a longstanding Internal Revenue Service audit while asserting he has paid at least his fair share.
However, The New York Times reported on Sunday that Trump paid only $750 in federal taxes in each year of 2016 and 2017 while paying no income taxes in 10 of the last 15 years before becoming president due to reporting substantial losses while earning more than $427 million from his reality television show “The Apprentice.”
The report also said he has been battling the IRS over a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed in 2010 through detailing huge losses that could end up costing him more than $100 million if the federal agency determines the refund was illegitimate.
The stunning report, based on two decades of tax information leaked to The New York Times by unnamed sources, has spurred Democrats to call for the president’s records to be released.
Rep. Bill Pascrell, chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee, which has been leading Congress’ charge to obtain Trump’s records since February 2017, said in a statement that “this blockbuster report confirms some of our worst fears.”
The subcommittee has been attempting to retrieve Trump’s records over concerns that his financial holdings in business dealings may open him up to foreign influence.
Pascrell said the partial report’s findings reveal not a “brilliant financial wizard” as Trump has attempted to project himself to be, but “a cheat, a fraud and perhaps the worst businessman in the world.”
“To cover his losses, Trump has looted the government and made himself vulnerable to heaven knows what foreign manipulation and blackmail,” Pascrell said in a statement, adding, “I will continue to sift through the findings, but Trump must release his tax returns as is longstanding practice and is required by law to Congress instead of grandstanding and attacking the media.”
Following the publication of the report on Sunday, Trump rebuked the report to reporters at the White House, calling it “fake news” and saying he has paid “a lot” in taxes.
“It’s totally fake news. Made up. Fake,” he said.
The Trump Organization also rejected the charges, stating that most of the facts in the report were “inaccurate.”
“Most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate,” Alan Gartner, chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, said. “Over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015.”
Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, charged Trump with having “gamed the tax code to his advantage,” and now, as president, overseeing the IRS as it conducts an audit of his records.
“Now, Donald Trump is the boss of the agency he considers an adversary,” Neal said in a statement. “It is essential that the IRS’ presidential audit program remain free of interference. Today’s report underscores the importance of the Ways and Means Committee’s ongoing lawsuit to access Mr. Trump’s tax returns and ensure the presidential audit program is functioning effectively, without improper influence.”
Along with the House Ways and Means Committee, New York state prosecutors are also in a legal battle for the president’s records as Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance investigates allegations that Trump paid hush money to two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House from California, also pointed to The New York Times report as reason for the Republican president to release his records.
“This report provides further evidence of the clear need for the Ways and Means lawsuit spearheaded by Chairman Neal to access Trump’s tax records and ensure the presidential audit program is functioning effectively, without improper influence,” she said in a statement.
Chuck Schumer, the Democratic minority leader in the Senate, posted on Twitter asking for Americans who have paid more than the president in taxes to raise their hands.
The report was published weeks before Americans head to the polls on Nov. 3 to vote and days before the president is scheduled to take to the stage for the first debate against Democratic challenger former Vice President Joe Biden.