Today the Trump campaign confirmed that presidential nominee Donald Trump will be the first candidate in modern American history to not release his tax returns. Accusations about Russian involvement in American politics have been swirling around Trump this week, and acclaimed conservative commentator George Will has suggested that Trump is not releasing his tax returns because they contain evidence of financial ties to Russia.
This might not be as crazy as it seems. After his numerous bankruptcies, Trump was no longer eligible for loans from American lending agencies, who deemed him too great of a financial risk. Trump was forced to look abroad for financing for his various development projects.
The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump Jr. once admitted his families financial ties to Russia:
‘”Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008.’
There is another scrap of evidence that suggests Trump has financial ties to Russia:
A fraud lawsuit centered around an investment firm that poured money into Trump projects was tied to another suit alleging that the investment firm had used illicit sources of Russian and Kazakhstani funding. When the fraud suit was settled, the illicit investment suit was closed. However, there is evidence on the public record that Trump was meeting with potential Russian investors. There are also allegations that Trump’s projects “occasionally received unexplained infusions of cash from accounts in Kazakhstan and Russia.”
“A separate lawsuit claimed that Trump SoHo was developed with the undisclosed involvement of convicted felons and financing from questionable sources in Russia and Kazakhstan.”
We do not have enough evidence at this point to say for certain whether Trump is financially involved with Russia to the point that it is a conflict of interest with his potential presidency. What we do know is that Trump’s lack of transparency around his tax returns is unheard of, and the American people have a right to be suspicious.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.