Likely U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pushed back on Friday against renewed calls for him to release his income tax returns before the election, saying the rate that he pays is “none of your business.”
American presidential candidates have voluntarily released their tax returns for decades. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and her rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have both released their returns.
Trump, who has all but locked up the Republican Party’s nomination for the Nov. 8 presidential election, has said the Internal Revenue Service was auditing his returns and he wanted to wait until the review was over before making them public.
“It should be, and I hope it’s before the election,” Trump told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Trump is building out his policy proposals as he pivots to the general election, including tapping experts in various fields.
Among those he has asked for help is U.S. Republican Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, one of the country’s most ardent oil and gas drilling advocates and climate change skeptics.
North Dakota has been at the forefront of the U.S. shale oil and gas boom. Cramer endorsed Trump earlier this year.
Trump has asked Cramer to write a white paper on energy policy, Cramer and sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. A white paper is a detailed report on a topic.
But the ins and outs of campaigning continue to be a major topic with Trump, who has never held elected office.
On Friday, the billionaire real estate developer, who has often boasted of his wealth, was asked why he had been willing in the past to release his tax information to Pennsylvania and New Jersey officials when seeking casino licenses, even though he was being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
“At the time it didn’t make any difference to me. Now it does,” Trump said.
Pressed on what tax rate he pays, Trump refused to say. “It’s none of your business,” he said.
“Before 1976, people didn’t do it,” he added. “It used to be a secret thing.”
Trump has said there is nothing voters can learn from his tax filings.
The IRS declined to comment on whether Trump or any other presidential candidates were being audited.
However, the Trump campaign earlier this year released a letter from his attorneys saying his personal tax returns have been under “continuous examination” from the IRS.
This week, Clinton began calling on her probable Republican rival to release his returns, as she has. Last August, the former U.S. secretary of state posted the past eight years of tax returns for her and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, on her website. Sanders released his 2014 return in April.
Tax filings show sources of income, both from within the United States and other countries, as well as charitable giving, investments, deductions and other financial information.
Trump said his company was “clean.”
“I don’t have Swiss bank accounts, I don’t have offshore accounts,” he said.
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, has been scathing in his criticism of Trump and said this week it was “disqualifying” for a nominee to refuse to make his tax returns public.
“There is only one logical explanation for Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his returns: There is a bombshell in them,” Romney said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.