Reid Hoffman, executive chairman and co-founder of LinkedIn, has vowed to pay up to $5 million to a veterans charity if Donald Trump releases his tax returns by Oct. 19, the day of the final debate.
The idea started when Marine Corps veteran Pete Kiernan announced that he was trying to crowdsource $25,000 to donate to veterans if Trump released his returns by that date. If Trump doesn’t show his returns, all who have pledged money will not be charged, according to Kieran’s website.
Kiernan’s argument is that servicemembers were subjected to “a rigorous background check, including personal finances, affiliations, and drug activity, all for good reason. The nation entrusts its defense to this small group of talented and determined patriots, in return for this responsibility the nation asks for honesty and integrity. I believe that to be the Commander-in-Chief of this group, you should be held to the same standards.”
Trump has said he would not release his returns until the completion of an IRS audit.
Writing on Medium Monday, Hoffman announced that he was willing to match Kiernan’s final number, at a 5 to 1 rate, up to $5 million. Hoffman wrote:
“Given Trump’s vocal support of veterans, I imagine he will recognize the great good that can come from Kiernan’s proposal.
But taking Trump’s own 2012 offer to President Obama into account, I’d like to assist Kiernan in his campaign. If Kiernan’s campaign hits or exceeds its target, I will match the total amount he reaches with a 5x contribution, up to $5 million.
In other words, if Kiernan raises $200,000 on Crowdpac.com, I’ll contribute $1 million to the campaign. If he raises $1 million, I’ll contribute $5 million.”
Hoffman’s pledge stems from one Trump made in 2012 when he said that if President Obama would release “his college records and applications and if he gives his passport applications and records,” the real estate mogul would donate $5 million to a charity of the president’s choice.
In his challenge, Trump called Obama “the least transparent president in the history of this country.” Trump was a leading voice pushing a discredited theory that Obama was not born in the United States at the time.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Kiernan's Crowdpac website had more than $90,000 in pledges.
Kiernan has since updated the goal to $1 million to max out Hoffman’s donation.