April 15 rally to demand Trump release his taxes

Special to The Log
Donald Trump speaks to the crowd at the Pensacola Bay Center during a rally. [FILE PHOTO]

From 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 15, a bipartisan group of American citizens will gather at Pavilion B in Liza Jackson Park, 338 Miracle Strip Parkway in Fort Walton Beach, to demand that Donald Trump release his tax returns. This is one of many sister marches across the country organized to coincide with a national march to be held in Washington D.C. the same day.

Within days of his inauguration, the White House petition calling on Trump to release his tax returns garnered the most signatures on a White House petition ever. The Trump administration’s response? “People don’t care.” And they shut down the petition function at WhiteHouse.gov. The group plans to march because they do care.

In addition to not releasing his taxes, Trump has flouted numerous conventions and practices that eliminate conflicts of interest and create the transparency essential to a healthy democracy. For example:

The White House is refusing to make public its visitor logs.

Trump has not divested from his businesses. His sons, with whom he has regular contact, will operate them and Trump will receive quarterly financial reports.

When this arrangement was announced, a Trump spokesperson stated, “President Trump will isolate himself from his investments.” Months later when details of the arrangement were made public, it was revealed that Trump can receive payouts from his businesses with no disclosure.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. violates its lease with the Government Services Administration, which states no “Elected official of the government … shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.”

This has not stopped Trump from doing another hotel deal in Washington so that he can benefit from foreign diplomats and favor seekers in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which makes it illegal for government officials to “accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

He conducts state business at his Mar-a-Lago resort, which benefits the resort and costs tax payers over $3 million each visit.

He lies constantly and sources “fake news” as fact.

He did not properly vet his Cabinet nominees and senior advisors. For example, campaign confidant and National Security Advisor Michael Flynnwas forced to resign.

He has appointed his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner to senior advisor roles, which further muddies the ethics surrounding his presidency.

The Tax March on April 15 will highlight these breaches of usual protocol and add our voices to the 74 percent of American people who believe that Mr. Trump should release his taxes.

The event is being organized by Progressives Northwest Florida and co-sponsored by the Okaloosa Democratic Executive Committee (DEC), the local organizing unit of the Florida Democratic Party.

“We feel that the Okaloosa Democrats are a good fit for this event," said Tracey Tapp, PNWFL Activism Committee chair. "They’ll be registering voters, helping people sign up for vote by mail, and getting signatures for a ballot initiative to restore voting rights to felons. Each of these are consistent with our goal of increasing citizen participation in our democracy.”

The event will start with a party atmosphere that will include music, refreshments, sign making, post card writing and the launch of PNWFL’s participation in the We The People, United FL-1 initiative. Then marchers will take to the sidewalks along Miracle Strip Parkway with their signs for a one mile march. Everyone RSVP’ing for the event has pledged to comply with the law and to act non-violently in word and deed.

“The DEC has long been an organization that encompasses many different groups," said Tom Russ, chair of the Okaloosa County DEC. "The DEC is proud to work with the Progressives, or any group, where we have common ideals.”