So…release the taxes already!

Donald Trump's Tax Returns

Trump’s taxes were back in the news on the Sunday “talking heads.” VP candidate Mike Pence assured us that he is going to release his shortly, and “the Donald” will release his “eventually.”

Yep. And pigs fly.

Why is it Donald Trump is the only major Presidential candidate since 1980 not to release his tax returns for the American people to evaluate?

Now, I realize that for the “Trumpistas” out there this question is sheer blasphemy. How dare one of us peons question the motives of the “Dear Leader?” But, let’s look at what has happened here and see if it makes any sense at all. Why won’t Trump release his taxes?

We know his excuse about not being able to do so while they are being audited is bogus. Does he really expect us to believe that after the IRS is finished with him that he will have grossly “overpaid” his taxes? Highly doubtful. So what is motivating Trump to keep his financial records secret? After all, he is seeking to become the biggest “public servant” in America. Once someone decides to step into the public arena at that level, they can hardly expect to have much of a private life.

So, why is Trump different? Is it his arrogance? Does he really believe, as do the Clintons, that he is above public scrutiny and accountability? If so, he is making the case that he really is no different than Hill and Bill.

If he was just a private entrepreneur, I’d fully support keeping his financial records confidential. But, the American people deserve the right to know who they are getting for a possible President. If someone didn’t explain that to him before he decided to run, then he is woefully unprepared for the job. Now, it is true that even some of his sycophants in the media are defending his non-release of his taxes. They are totally being hypocrites about this. These are the same people who are rightly demanding to see Hillary’s emails. How can they possibly not see the double standard? Perhaps they now see the world through “orange-colored glasses.”

Let’s look at a few other possible reasons for Trump’s adamant refusal to allow the American people to see under the hood of Trump, Inc:

1. Trump isn’t as rich as he brags to be.

This has been floated around for some time now. It goes something like this: Trump’s inflated ego extends to his “net worth” as well as “the size of his hands.” He really isn’t the “mega-billionaire” he claims to be.

If the American people found out that he is worth a whole lot less than he claims, they will distrust him on two levels. First, he can’t be trusted to tell the truth. If he’s lying about his success, what else is he lying about in his campaign promises (can somebody say, “the wall”)? And second, if it turns out that he really isn’t as successful as he brags, then maybe he doesn’t have the economic ability to “make America great again.” Maybe he can’t right our economy after 8 years of Obama’s ruination.

2. Trump isn’t as charitable as he claims he is.

This has also been out there for a while. He brags about how much he helps people, but recent events and revelations have cast a cloud on “caring Donald.” He bragged about raising six million dollars for vets after ducking the last pre-Iowa debate, but it wasn’t until investigative reporters called him on it several months later that any checks were cut.

Also, recent stories have surfaced about Trump being charitable with other people’s money – the Democrats idea of being generous. He supports charities through his foundation rather than his own bank account. Most of the money in his foundation has come from outside fundraising sources, not from Trump’s piggy bank.

Released tax returns could show Trump is no different than the Clintons who live by the motto, “charity begins at home.”

This would also cut into his support from some “evangelicals” who like to brag about how generous Trump is – I still remember CBN’s David Brody in awe of the “generous contribution” Trump put into an Iowa church offering plate shortly before the Iowa Caucus.

If Trump really isn’t so generous, then maybe other aspects of his “Christian faith” are contrived as well.

3. The tax returns might just reveal much deeper and more extensive dealings with Putin’s Russia than the Trumpster wants to acknowledge.

This would be damaging to the man who claims to be a strict nationalist – deeply in bed, business-wise, with the former head of the USSR’s Communist KGB.  If that is true, how could any American trust him on matters of foreign policy? Is he putting “America first,” or is he beholden to foreign powers who will dictate to him what he believes?

That’s possibly what the whole debacle about softening the Republican Party plank concerning the Ukraine was all about. Putin didn’t want it in there, so Trump’s people had it removed.

4. Trump may have donated to the Clinton Foundation (read: Clinton Crime Family Foundation – h/t… Rush)

This would be devastating to his campaign. How could he call her “crooked Hillary” when he’s helping to pay for her crimes? Cruz brought this up during the debates and Trump squirmed like a little boy getting his first haircut.

5. Much of Trump’s income is from foreign, off-shore companies using foreign workers; or foreign workers employed by Trump in the states.

This issue was also raised in the debates. The truth is Trump likes using foreign labor for many different projects. It may be his way around unions, OSHA regulations, and honest labor rates for workers. If this proves true, then how can he claim to bring “great” jobs back to America when he doesn’t personally believe in using top-of-the-line American labor for his own businesses? How can the out-of-work blue collar supporter trust him to get good jobs back into the economy when that goes against how Trump does things in his private businesses?

Any one or all of these, if eventually proven true, could finish off his campaign once and for all. Maybe not for the tiny percentage of “Trumpistas” that are out there. They have denied reality so far. But, for the average American voter, they would see just another lying politician making himself rich at the people’s expense. Any one of these possibilities could give Hillary millions of dollars worth of airtime fodder for her campaign if they became public. Trump would, indeed, be toast.

The American people are already disgusted over the two choices we have for President. This would push their revulsion for Trump even higher. And don’t be surprised, if the election gets tight near November, that the Obama IRS somehow manages to “leak” Trump’s taxes to some enterprising hacker or reporter looking for a Pulitzer. Hillary will leave nothing to chance in her quest for world domination.

This is the problem the Republicans created by not properly vetting their candidates on the front end. Since Trump meant ratings for the networks, and the “status quo” for the RINOs, little real scrutiny was applied to “ducking Donald.”

Of course, if all of these allegations are false, Trump could put them all to bed in an instant simply by releasing his tax returns. If there really is nothing to hide, why not show that to the American people? Why play this silly game and risk losing everything? After all, we know the worst thing for Trump is for someone to call him a loser.

Sadly, that may be his ultimate legacy as he desperately clings to the carefully-crafted media image he has built for himself. You see, reality has a way of slipping out now and then – even in politics and even for former New York City liberals.

Russ Hepler

Russ Hepler is a pastor, teacher, political activist, author, and conference speaker with over 30 years of experience. He holds a B.A. from Messiah College and an M.A.R. from Evangelical School of Theology. He has been an issues’ advocate, a campaign volunteer for local, state, and federal candidates, Regional Field Director for PA Christian Coalition, president of a county chapter of Pennsylvanians for Human Life, local Republican Committeeman, and an elected member of a town council. He is also a former and current homeschooler and taught in a Christian school (middle school History and Bible) for a number of years. He was formerly a blog writer for The Federalist Papers Project with over 900 articles published. He has been a guest on the American Family Radio program Today’s Issues with Tim Wildmon and on the Bill Martinez Live radio show. One of his sermons – Father’s Day – Where Have All the Heroes Gone? – was featured on the American Pastors’ Network. His first book – Yes! We Can Turn This Nation Around! A Practical Guide for Christian Political Involvement – was published in 2012. It has recently been updated and expanded for 2016 – Yes! We STILL Can Turn This Nation Around! An Updated and Expanded Practical Guide for Christian Political Involvement. Both works are available at He and his wife, Sherry, have founded Transformation 1202 Ministries to educate, encourage, and challenge people of faith to get involved in the political and cultural issues of our day. The ministry has a website, a blog, and a Facebook page: Turn This Nation Around.