Republican vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence has said that he will release his tax returns sometime in the next week, and insisted that running mate Donald Trump would also release his, at some still-unknown point. Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Pence repeated Trump’s standard excuse for the delay in releasing the returns, saying that they would come out “at the completion of an audit.” Pressed by host Chuck Todd on whether that would happen before Election Day, Pence replied, “Well, we’ll see.” Should Trump not release his returns before the election, it would break several decades of precedent among major-party presidential candidates.
Trump and his surrogates have consistently blamed his inability to release his tax returns on the fact that he is facing a multiyear federal audit, even though no law prevents him from releasing his returns during such a time. The Wall Street Journal reported a more likely explanation early last month — assuming Trump doesn’t just want to hide his finances — in that if he releases his tax documents, public comments by tax experts might offer the IRS new ideas about how to approach the ongoing audit, thus damaging Trump’s side.
They also point out that Trump’s lawyers have some ability to slow down the audit process as well, so if Team Trump doesn’t want a timely release, they can work against that. One tax lawyer who spoke with the Journal said from what he could tell, it was “close to impossible” that Trump’s audit would be completed by Election Day.