During his big Fox News town hall, Senator Bernie Sanders told moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum they should ask President Donald Trump about his tax returns. He declined to do so, disclosing only his tax return for 2014.
In a statement accompanying the release, Sanders said that the returns show that his family has been "fortunate", something he is grateful for after growing up in a family that lived paycheck to paycheck.
"Center for American Progress leader Neera Tanden repeatedly calls for unity while simultaneously maligning my staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas", Sanders wrote, adding: "I and other Democratic candidates are running campaigns based on principles and ideas and not engaging in mudslinging or personal attacks on each other". I think he listened to them, quite smartly.
Sanders said conservatives and right-wing news outlets have "excitedly" re-published any and all reports critical of himself and other progressive candidates.
The New York real estate tycoon refused to do so during the 2016 campaign, saying that he was under audit, but the Internal Revenue Service has said this is no impediment to their release.
Fellow Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke followed soon after, releasing 10 years worth of tax returns.
On Saturday, Democratic lawmakers gave tax authorities a final deadline of April 23 to hand over Trump's returns, but it remained unclear if his administration will comply.
"Pfft, come on. I paid the taxes that I owe", Sanders shot back.More news: Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker trailer
A number of Sanders' rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination - including Sens. The people--in 2016--of this country did not care about it. In 2014, prior to his first presidential run, he reported an income with his wife of about US$206,000, according to his tax returns. His higher income in two of the three most recent years could potentially prompt questions from voters about his frequent criticisms of the influence that millionaires and billionaires have over the political process.
One reason he may have delayed his tax return release is that he is now a millionaire.
Governor Jay Inslee of Washington released 12 years of tax returns, showing that he and his wife earned US$202,912 last year. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota - have released tax records to varying degrees.
The Sanders campaign said in a press release that he paid 26 per cent effective tax rate in 2018.
It's tradition for presidential candidates, and most candidates for federal office, to release their tax returns.
The accusations were prompted by an article and video published by one of CAP's projects, ThinkProgress, which claimed Sanders is a millionaire but wishes to downplay his finances because it's "very off-brand and embarrassing". "It was a bestseller, sold all over the world, and we made money".