Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was a young political candidate who thought people would praise his transparency if he released 20 years’ worth of income tax returns, going all the way back to when he was first married. Alas, nobody gave him credit for his honesty or charitable giving. The only people who cared were his political opponents, who poured over his forms, hunting for any obscure item they could wrench out of context and turn into attack ads. The unsurprising twist: that young candidate was me. And the moral I learned was: “Never help somebody load a gun when it’s pointed at your own head. It’s not going to end well.”
Donald Trump is the latest candidate to be pressured to release his income tax forms. My Reaganesque advice to him: “Just say no!” Some have tried to interpret that as me favoring Trump, but I’ve given this same advice to candidates for years: Don’t release your personal tax forms. Trump, like every other candidate, is required by law to release detailed financial information. It must be signed under oath to verify that it’s accurate on penalty of perjury. Trump has done that, and it’s available for all to see.
Read more: Western Journalism