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Trump, Clinton trade barbs on tax returns

DonaldTrump promised during the first presidential debate on Sept. 26 to release histax returns if Hillary Clinton discloses the contents of her private emailserver while she was secretary of state.

TheRepublican is the first major party candidate in roughly 40 years who hasrefused to release his tax returns in advance of the presidential election.Real estate and tax law experts say Trump likely has taken advantage of tax codeprovisions designed to benefit the real estate industry for years,significantly reducing his tax burden.

Whenthe debate turned to tax policy, the debate moderator, NBC news anchor LesterHolt, took the opportunity to ask Trump why he has not made his tax returnspublic. Trump reiterated his defense that he has not released his tax returnsbecause he is being audited, but he promised to release them conditionally.

"Iwill release my tax returns, against my lawyers' wishes, when she releases her33,000 emails that have been deleted," he said, referring to Clinton's useof a private email server while she was secretary of state.

BothHolt and Clinton made the point that the IRS has said he can release returnsunder audit. Clinton pointed out that for roughly 40 years, every candidatereleased his or her returns. She offered a few possible explanations why Trumphas not: He may not be as wealthy or as charitable as he claims to be; helikely owes money — as much as $650 million — to domestic and foreign banks; orhe may have paid no federal taxes.

"Itmust be something really important, even terrible, that he's trying tohide," she said.

Trumplater stated that his business is "extremely under-leveraged," andthat investigative reports suggesting he may owe $650 million referencedbuildings that he claimed are worth $3.9 billion. He asserted that in hisinternational dealings he has, on four occasions, "used certain laws thatare there" to make his business profitable.

"Nowif you want to change the laws — you've been there a long time — change thelaws," Trump said to Clinton. "But I take advantage of the laws ofthe nation, because I'm running a company."

Duringthe debate, Trump attacked the Obama Administration and the Federal Reserve forpoliticizing monetary policy. He said the economy was already exhibitingcharacteristics of a "big, fat, ugly bubble."

"Believeme, we're in a bubble right now," the Republican candidate said. "Andthe only thing that looks good is the stock market. But if you raise interestrates even just a little bit, that's going to come crashing down."

Later,when the debate turned to gun laws and the criminal justice system, Clintonrepeated her call to end the government's business dealings with private prisonowners and operators.

"I'mglad we're ending private prisons in the federal system," she said, in anapparent reference to the U.S. Justice Department released in August outlining theagency's plans to curtail its dealings with private prison operators. "Iwant to see them ended in the state system. You shouldn't have a profitmotivation to fill prison cells with young Americans."

Clintonalso said mandatory minimum sentences have "put too many people away, fortoo long, for doing too little."

was down morethan 3% in early trading Sept. 27, while Corrections Corp. of America was down almost 6%. TheREIT indexes were down only slightly.