Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed that releasing his tax returns to the public would be complicated and take “a long time” during Wednesday’s ninth Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas.
“It just takes us a long time. Unfortunately or fortunately, I make a lot of money and we do business all around the world and we are preparing it,” the billionaire, who is self-funding his presidential campaign, said when asked about making them public. “The number of pages will probably be in the thousands of pages. I can’t go to Turbo Tax.”
Bloomberg entered the race in November, months after his competitors had already begun their campaigns. In addition to not releasing his tax returns, Bloomberg has twice delayed filing a personal financial disclosure form with federal regulators, leaving details of his self-financed campaign hidden, potentially until after the critical Super Tuesday contests next month.
“We’re releasing them. They’ll be out in a couple of weeks. That’s as fast as we can do it,” Bloomberg said at the debate Wednesday.
The former mayor’s answer didn’t sit well with the other candidates on stage, who groaned and immediately shot their hands in the air to register their desire to respond.
“Everyone up here has returned their tax returns,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said. “It is a major issue because the president of the United States ... has been hiding behind his tax returns.”
Donald Trump was the first major party nominee since Gerald Ford to not release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign. He has since claimed they are under an audit that has now lasted four years.
In January 2016, Trump’s explanation for not releasing his tax returns was similar to Bloomberg’s: “We’re working on that now. I have very big returns, as you know, and I have everything all approved and very beautiful and we’ll be working that over in the next period of time,” Trump said at the time. “This is not, like, a normal tax return.”
Also on HuffPost
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.