Watchdog group calls on 2020 candidates to release 10 years of tax returns

Watchdog group calls on 2020 candidates to release 10 years of tax returns
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The watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is urging all 2020 presidential candidates to release their tax returns from at least the last 10 years, after President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE became the first major-party nominee in decades to refuse to disclose any filings.

“Tax returns can illuminate conflicts and can also shed important light on a president or candidate’s charitable giving and whether they are paying their fair share of taxes,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement on Thursday.

CREW also launched a webpage to track which 2020 candidates have released tax returns. It allows viewers to download tax documents that have been released.

So far, two Democratic candidates have released at least 10 years of tax returns: Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJulián Castro: Trump should be impeached for trying to obstruct justice 'in very concrete ways' Poll: Biden tops Sanders nationally Pete Buttigieg: 'God doesn't have a political party' MORE (Mass) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGillibrand pledges not to use 'stolen hacked' materials in 2020 campaign 2020 Dems rebuke Trump on Iran, say they'd put US back in nuclear deal Where 2020 Democratic candidates stand on impeachment MORE (N.Y.). CREW said some others have not released any tax returns to date, while others have shown only specific reporters some of their tax returns or have only released summaries of their documents in the past.

The group noted that Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAndrew Cuomo: Biden has best chance at 'main goal' of beating Trump Poll: Buttigieg tops Harris, O'Rourke as momentum builds Buttigieg responds to accusation of pushing a 'hate hoax' about Pence MORE (I-Vt.) only released one year of his tax returns during his 2016 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. After announcing his 2020 run last month, Sanders said he would release 10 years of tax returns.

CREW said on its website that providing at least 10 years of tax returns is "in the interest of transparency," and said that the types of limited disclosures that some candidates have made in the past "do not go far enough to shed light on possible conflicts, or to show the public a full picture of presidential candidates’ finances."

The launch of CREW's tracker comes as House Democrats plan to try to obtain Trump's tax returns by requesting them from the Treasury Department. Trump in 2016 broke with precedent and refused to make his tax returns public, citing an IRS audit. However, the IRS has said that audits don't prevent people from making their own tax information public.

Democrats have expressed interest in viewing Trump's tax returns to learn more about any potential conflicts of interest involving foreign governments, and to see how the president may have benefited from his 2017 tax-cut law.

The House earlier this month passed legislation that would require presidents, vice presidents and major-party nominees for those offices to disclose 10 years of personal and business tax returns. Bookbinder testified at a hearing in February in support of the legislation.