Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

36 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway speaking Sunday to ABC's George Stephanopoulos. (Screenshot: ABC)

Top Trump Aide Indicates Promise to Release Tax Returns Will Be Broken

Activists vow nationwide day of action on April 15 calling for transparency from newly sworn in president

Deirdre Fulton

Belying promises he made on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump will not release his tax returns, according to presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, who spoke Sunday to ABC's "This Week."

Despite widespread public demands that he do so, Conway said "he's not going to release his tax returns" and reiterated the spurious claim that people aren't interested in what the real estate mogul's returns contain.

"We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care," Conway said on Sunday. "They voted for him, and let me make this very clear: Most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like. And you know full well that President Trump and his family are complying with all the ethical rules, everything they need to do to step away from his businesses and be a full-time president."

In fact, ABC News/Washington Post polling data released last week showed that 74 percent of all Americans, including 49 percent of Trump's own supporters, say he should release his tax returns. Furthermore, a WhiteHouse.gov petition calling on the newly sworn in president to "immediately release [his]...full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance," bears well over the threshold number of signatures to warrant action by the Trump administration. As of Monday morning, 260,812 people had signed the petition (under former President Barack Obama, the White House would review any petition with more than 100,000 signatures.)

The rest of Conway's assertion appears to be equally false. A ProPublica investigation published Friday showed Trump has not actually filed paperwork relinquishing control of his businesses to his children; while a team of ethics experts—including top constitutional scholars and former White House ethics lawyers—filed suit on Monday alleging Trump is violating the Constitution by illegally receiving payments from foreign governments.

During the 2016 campaign season, Trump justified not releasing his tax returns by stating he was under an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit.

"I don't mind releasing," he said during his first president debate with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. "I'm under a routine audit. And it'll be released. And as soon as the audit's finished, it will be released."

Conway walked back her flat refusal on Twitter Monday morning and reverted to the old excuse, saying: "POTUS is under audit and will not release until that is completed."

But as the Huffington Post points out:

The IRS has already stated that there is nothing preventing Trump from releasing his returns while they are under audit. The government agency, which is now under Trump's control, further stated that Trump's tax returns prior to 2009 are not even under audit at all. Trump claimed during the campaign that his lawyers didn't want him to release the returns.

Trump handed over his tax returns when they were under IRS audit to state officials in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as part of the legal process to apply for casino licenses in the states.

Meanwhile, activists hope to capitalize on momentum from Saturday's international women's marches to hold another day of action on Saturday, April 15, this one geared specifically toward Trump's taxes and conflicts of interest. The call took off online on Sunday following Conway's comments.

WikiLeaks also responded to Conway's remarks, writing Sunday on Twitter:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'We Will Fight! We Will Win!': Nearly 200 Abortion Rights Defenders Arrested in DC

"If people don't see the rage," said one woman at the protest, "nothing changes."

Jon Queally ·


Naomi Klein: The US Is in the Midst of a 'Shock-and-Awe Judicial Coup'

"The rolling judicial coup coming from this court is by no means over," warned the author of "The Shock Doctrine."

Jake Johnson ·


Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·


Critics Say Biden Drilling Bonanza 'Won't Lower Gas Prices' But 'Will Worsen Climate Crisis'

"President Biden's massive public lands giveaway in the face of utter climate catastrophe is just the latest sign that his climate commitments are mere rhetoric," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo