Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the GOP vice-presidential nominee, suggested this weekend that he plans to make his tax returns public, breaking with his running mate, Donald Trump, who has refused to follow the tradition of major presidential nominees releasing their tax returns.
"I promise you, when my [federal financial disclosure] forms are filed and when my tax returns are released, it’s going to be a quick read," Pence said with a laugh during an interview on WABC Radio with Rita Cosby that was posted online Saturday. "I can assure you and your listeners the Pences have not become more wealthy as a result of 16 years in public service. There's been a lot of sacrifices. We're a middle-class family, and it’s been a tremendous honor to serve as . .. governor of Indiana and my years in the Congress, and we'll look forward to making all that information available."
Pence spokesman Marc Lotter has yet to respond to questions from The Washington Post about when that might happen. Lotter told CNN that the tax returns would be released "before the election."
After publicly toying with the idea of releasing his own tax returns, Trump has decided not to do so, citing an ongoing audit by the Internal Revenue Service. Trump's tax attorneys said in a letter in March that Trump's filings since 2009 are being audited and that those from 2002 to 2008 are no longer under scrutiny. Trump has declined to release returns from earlier years, which are not being audited, because "they're all linked." Trump has said that he will release his returns when the audit is completed, but it's unlikely that will be anytime soon.
According to Trump filings, legal documents and other public records, the businessman and TV personality paid no federal income tax during at least five years: 1978, 1979, 1984, 1991 and 1993. Trump has said that he tries "very hard to pay as little tax as possible," and tax analysts have said it's possible Trump has paid little to no income taxes in other years. Trump refused to disclose his tax rate during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in May.
“It’s none of your business,” Trump said. “You’ll see it when I release.”
All major presidential nominees since 1976 have released their tax returns — including Richard Nixon, who released his returns even while under audit. Last summer, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton released returns from 2007 to 2014. On Friday her campaign shared Clinton's 2015 return, as well as 10 years of returns from her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia.
Pence defended Trump's decision during the radio interview.
"I think he's made it very clear: He's going through an audit at this time and will release the taxes when that audit is completed," Pence said.
The governor said that it was "proper" for Clinton to release her taxes on Friday. He accused her of having profited from her time in public office and being out of touch with everyday Americans.
"All of this class warfare talk that we heard coming out of her speech yesterday rings a little bit hollow," Pence said. "What you have in the Clintons is an extremely prosperous family that's made tens of millions of dollars related to and derivative of their time in and around public service, and the American people now know that clearly from that release."
During the interview, Pence also batted away suggestions that the Trump campaign is faltering and that recent polls showing Trump trailing far behind Clinton will prove true in November. Pence says he sees "victory on the horizon."
"Stay tuned," he said. "It’s very early in this campaign."