With Democratic lawmakers ramping up their efforts to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns, presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris is leading by example by releasing 15 years of tax returns on Sunday.
She joins a field of Democratic presidential hopefuls who already have done so, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, the Los Angeles Times and Politico noted. Sen. Bernie Sanders said he would release his returns on Monday.
Harris’ returns cover her time in public office, beginning in 2004, when she earned $142,000 a year as a district attorney in San Francisco. As the Times reported, the California senator and her husband, attorney Douglas Emhoff, reported about $2 million in income last year and paid some $700,000 in taxes.
Harris’ tax rate ranged from an average of 20% to 30%, with the latter rate paid during the five years that Harris and Emhoff filed joint returns.
Harris’s household income places her in the upper tier of candidates who have shared their returns so far. Warren’s 2018 returns revealed roughly $900,000 in combined income for her and her husband. Gillibrand’s filing included her $167,000 Senate salary and $50,000 in book proceeds. Klobuchar released her tax returns through 2017, and reported less than $300,000 in combined income for her and her husband that year. Inslee’s 2018 return reported an adjusted gross income of $202,912.
The Times noted that Harris earned $730,000 for her latest book “The Truths We Hold” and a children’s book released this year.
Harris supports legislation to require that a president’s tax returns be made public, while Warren already has introduced legislation that would require candidates for president and vice president to make eight years of tax returns public, according to the Post.
As Harris’ campaign pointed out, these efforts stand in “stark contrast” to Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, despite a formal request by Democratic members of the House.
On Saturday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig setting an April 23 deadline to release six years of Trump’s personal tax returns, along with filings from eight other Trump-related entities. The Trump administration has already missed a previous April 10 deadline to do so.
On Sunday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeated Trump’s claim that the president is under audit, and therefore won’t release his taxes.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Sanders told host Chris Wallace that lawmakers aren’t “smart enough” to understand Trump’s tax returns.
“This is all about political partisanship,” Sanders said. “This is a dangerous, dangerous road. And frankly Chris, I don’t think Congress, particularly not this group of congressmen and women are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume that President Trump’s taxes will be. My guess is most of them don’t do their own taxes, and I certainly don’t trust them to look through the decades of success that the president has and determine anything.”
Sanders also claimed that the issue of Trump’s tax returns had been litigated in 2016. That year, while Trump was a GOP presidential candidate, he had also claimed he wouldn’t release his tax returns because he was being audited.
In February 2016, Trump claimed that he was being audited because he is a “strong Christian.”
“Well, maybe because of the fact that I’m a strong Christian, and I feel strongly about it, maybe there’s a bias,” he told CNN at the time.