The general election is mere weeks away, and GOP nominee Donald Trump is still refusing to release his tax records. His political opponents, members of Congress, and even some fellow Republicans have hammered Trump for this lack of transparency, saying his refusal implies he has “something to hide” and could hurt both his candidacy and the Republican Party.
But an unexpected voice joined this chorus on Monday: devout Trump ally and campaign insider Roger Stone.
“I think he should release his tax returns immediately,” Stone told Miami radio host Fernand Amandi on Monday. “Wow,” responded Amandi, clearly expecting more push-back. “There it is. Roger Stone just said it, folks.”
Amandi’s surprise is justified. Stone is a self-described “true Trump loyalist” — a political adviser and confidante who, though officially fired last year, remains in Trump’s inner circle. The two men have a decades-long personal history, and Stone even worked as Trump’s personal lobbyist in 1999. He began helping him politically after 2012, and praised Trump for questioning whether President Obama was a U.S. citizen — a move he called “base building.”
An insider and loyalist like Stone calling for Trump to release his tax returns “immediately” will bring renewed attention to the issue at a time when Trump is already attempting to squash rumors of dysfunction in his campaign.
For their part, Trump and his campaign say they will not release the returns until they have been fully audited by the IRS, which could take multiple years. The IRS has said there is nothing in the law that prevents Trump from releasing the records before the audit is completed.