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White House petition to release Trump taxes gains traction online

A petition to release Donald Trump’s tax returns -- posted to the White House’s “We the People” petition website -- exploded with signatures Friday, just as Mr. Trump was celebrating his inauguration to the presidency.

The petition was created Jan. 20 and called to “immediately release Donald Trump’s full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance.” It urged transparency in the face of the “unprecedented economic conflicts of this administration.”

The emoluments clause is a reference to the Constitution’s restrictions on any person holding public office from accepting any fee or salary from a foreign government or state-run foreign companies without Congress’ consent. 

Less than 24 hours after the petition went live online, more than 131,000 people attached their signatures to it -- far exceeding the 100,000 signatures needed for the White House to respond to it. 


It is unclear whether the Trump team will continue to adhere to the Obama administration’s policy of responding to petitions that reach that goal.

Throughout his presidential campaign and despite accusations that he had financial ties to Russia, Mr. Trump has dismissed calls to release his tax documents, saying he is under audit by the IRS. 

“I’m not releasing the tax returns because, as you know, they’re under audit,” Mr. Trump said earlier this month during his first press conference since the election. He then swatted away further questions about taxes, telling journalists that the American public had no concerns about it: “You know, the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, OK? They’re the only ones...I won. I mean, I became president. No, I don’t think they care at all. I don’t think they care at all. I think you care.”

According to the latest polling, however, most Americans believe Mr. Trump should still release his tax returns. 

Seventy-four percent of Americans surveyed in an ABC News/Washington Post poll this month say he should release his tax records. Forty-nine percent of Republicans believe Mr. Trump should release them.

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