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Cramer: 'I don't know' if Trump should release tax returns

GRAND FORKS, N.D.--U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, the most vocal supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump among North Dakota's elected leaders, said Wednesday transparency may help dispel speculation over the candidate's finances, but h...

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FILE PHOTO: Donald Trump speaks in Eugene, Oregon, on May 6, 2016. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

GRAND FORKS, N.D.-U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, the most vocal supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump among North Dakota's elected leaders, said Wednesday transparency may help dispel speculation over the candidate's finances, but he stopped short of calling for Trump to release his tax returns.

Calls for Trump to release his tax returns, as major party presidential candidates have done in recent decades, have intensified since the New York Times reported Saturday that the businessman reported a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns. The paper said that could have allowed him to legally avoid paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years.

Asked whether Trump should release his tax returns, Cramer, R-N.D., said, "I don't know because I haven't seen his tax returns. I don't know what's to hide."

But Cramer said the Times' revelations are "a clear indication both of Donald Trump's savvy as a businessperson and the complications of our tax code that need to be fixed.

"I've always said that the greatest backstop to people's imagination is full transparency, and the imagination is often more elaborate than reality," he said. "But that said, I don't know what's in his tax returns, and by the way, neither does the New York Times."

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Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president, released eight years of tax returns in July and then released her 2015 returns in August. Her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, criticized Trump during a Tuesday debate with the Republican vice presidential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, for not releasing his returns and saying he was "smart" for not paying federal taxes.

"So it's smart not to pay for our military, it's smart not to pay for veterans, it's smart not to pay for teachers," Kaine said. "And I guess all of us who do pay for those things, I guess we're stupid."

Cramer said as a businessman, Trump would be paying substantial amounts in property taxes and sales taxes.

Trump has said that he won't release his returns because he is under audit, but the IRS said an audit doesn't prevent someone from disclosing tax records, according to Reuters.

"I think voters are way more concerned about their own taxes," Cramer said, adding that Trump is proposing a "much more even, fair tax code."

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Related Topics: KEVIN CRAMERNORTH DAKOTA
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