- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 2, 2016

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s massive tax write-off in the 1990s shows that he’s a “billion-dollar loser.”

Trump is a billion-dollar loser who won’t release his taxes because they’ll expose him as a spoiled, rich brat who lost the millions he inherited from his father,” the Nevada Democrat said in a statement.

“Despite losing a billion dollars, Trump wants to reward himself with more tax breaks on inherited wealth while stiffing middle-class families who earn their paychecks with hard work,” said Mr. Reid.

He was reacting to a news report about Mr. Trump claiming a nearly $1 billion loss in 1996 that could have gotten him out of paying federal income taxes for years, buttressing claims by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton that Mr. Trump doesn’t pay taxes.

Mr. Reid has strongly baked calls for Mr. Trump to release his tax returns and questioned whether Mr. Trump pays taxes.

In 2014, he claimed to know that Republican nominee Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes. However, Mr. Romney’s tax returns showed that he paid an effective tax rate of about 14 percent.

Trump is over-leveraged and deeply indebted to someone, but until he releases his taxes we won’t know who. The implications for America’s security are severe. The American people deserve to know who has leverage over this man who wants to be president,” the Senate minority leader said.

Mr. Reid called for the Senate to immediately pass the ‘Presidential Tax Transparency Act,” which would force all presidential candidates to release their tax returns.

A 1996 state tax return obtained by The New York Times showed Mr. Trump claiming a $916 million net operating loss. The massive deduction could have shielded him from any tax liability for up to 18 years, according to tax experts.

The report added pressure on Mr. Trump to release his tax returns, which he has refused to do because he is being audited by the IRS.

There is no legal prohibition against releasing tax records amid an audit. There also is no legal requirement that he release the returns, although every presidential candidate for the last 40 years has done so.

“Let’s step back and take stock: Senate Republicans have put party so far ahead of country, they’ve endorsed a racist, incompetent failure who managed to lose a billion dollars in a boom year,” said Mr. Reid. “Now they are helping Trump hide his tax returns and preventing the American people from knowing what individuals, businesses or foreign interests could have leverage over Trump.”

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