Clinton releases tax return, putting heat on Trump to do the same

Hillary's millions revealed. PLUS: Republican group wants funding to Trump cut off.

Hillary Clinton released her personal tax return earlier today NZT, putting pressure on Donald Trump to do the same.

As things stand, the Republican nominee seems set to become the first presidential candidate in decades not to release their return.

Mr Trump says he won't release his return while it is still being audited by the Inland Revenu Service.

Tax lawyers say there is nothing to stop a person making their return public while it is before the IRS; it does not prejudice the outcome of the audit process.

Meanwhile, Democrats have happily filled the void with speculation that Mr Trump is not giving as much to charity as he claims, is not as wealthy as he has made out, is trying to hide embarrassing business connections at home or abroad.

According to a Wall Street Journal summary, Mrs Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, paid an effective federal income-tax rate of 34% in 2015 on $US10.6 million in adjusted gross income. Their income was down sharply from $US28 million in 2014, when they paid an effective tax rate of more than 35%.

The latest return, 40 pages long, showed the Clintons donated more than $US1 million, or nearly 10% of their gross income, to charity. Almost all of those donations went to the Clinton Family Foundation, a fund that serves as the vehicle for the couple’s charitable giving that is different from the Clinton Foundation, whose activities have been heavily scrutinised — most recently over email leaks that suggest an appropriately close connection between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department during the time Mrs Clinton was Secretary of State. The Democrat has to be thankful that Mr Trump instead chose to focus on his outlandish claim that she and President Obama are the founders of ISIS.

A New York Times poll-of-polls puts Mrs Clinton ahead of Mr Trump by an average 46% to 39%. The Democrat also leads in all of the larger battleground states, and the traditionally safe Republican states of Georgia and Nevada have been recategorised as toss-ups.

Trouble keeps coming piling up for Mr Trump. The latest blow, according to Fox News, is a letter from a group of former Republican legislators calling on the Republican National Committee cut funding to the presidential candidate.

The letter, leaked to Fox, says in part:

“Given the catastrophic impact that Donald Trump’s losing presidential campaign will have on down-ballot Senate and House races, we urge you to immediately suspend all discretionary RNC support for Trump and focus the entirety of the RNC’s available resources on preserving the GOP’s congressional majorities."

The Republican candidate has also spoken about the possibility of losing for the first time (outside of his various assertions that the ballot could be "rigged").

He told CNBC on Friday NZT, "At the end it's either going to work or I'm going to, you know, I'm going to have a very, very nice long vacation."

Tune into NBR Radio’s Sunday Business with Andrew Patterson on Sunday morning, for analysis and feature-length interviews.

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