First Donald Trump refused to release copies of his tax returns in contradiction of a tradition that now goes back decades. His excuse that he is being audited is, to be blunt, utter bull shit. Hence, the question is, what doesn't he want the American people to know? Now, Trump is also refusing to identify his bundlers - those who go out and gather up the really big donations. Hillary Clinton has released the names of her bundlers, so again the question is, what is Trump hiding? An editorial in the Washington Post looks at Trump's disturbing secrecy. Here are excerpts:
Voters could get some answers if Mr. Trump would release, as have Hillary Clinton and most recent candidates before her, the names of his bundlers. These are the people who solicit large numbers of often medium-size checks and hand them over to campaigns. Though they do not necessarily give huge amounts of their own cash, bundlers rake in big sums for their candidates — and therefore pose a similar threat to the integrity of the political process. Even so, the law requires campaigns to disclose bundlers only when they are registered lobbyists. It is left to the campaigns to voluntarily provide more information.
Ms. Clinton has done so, releasing the names of some 500 bundlers. Mr. Trump, Politico’s Shane Goldmacher recently noted, has not. Nor would the campaign discuss with Politico, or with us, its intentions with regard to this rudiment of transparency.
Such contempt for voters is not surprising. Mr. Trump also is thumbing his nose at the long tradition of major-party presidential nominees releasing their tax returns. He promised to do so. Ms. Clinton has released decades of hers, including her 2015 return, which she disclosed Friday . Yet Mr. Trump continues to keep his “beautiful” tax documents under wraps.
Why the secrecy? With respect to bundlers, Mr. Truump might not want to draw attention to the special interests now backing him, and some of his bundlers might (understandably) be embarrassed to be outed. With respect to his tax returns, the candidate may not want to reveal that his business is not as successful as he claims, that he is stingy with charity or that he has compromising business relationships in Russia or elsewhere overseas.
Mr. Trump’s refusal to meet essential standards of transparency expresses contempt for the democratic process and erodes crucial norms. If voters reject him in November — and his secrecy provides yet another reason they should — we hope future presidential candidates will conclude that these traditions are not so easily discarded.
I always say that, if one has nothing to hide, then you don't act like you are hiding something. The only conclusion is that the names of Trump's bundlers and his tax returns would show Americans something damaging.