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Hacker magazine offers $10,000 bounty for Trump’s tax returns

It's a bold, but seemingly lawful, move.


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Posted on Sep 28, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 9:59 pm CDT

An iconic hacker magazine is offering a $10,000 bounty to the first person who hunts down Donald Trump‘s tax returns. 

Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns breaks a decades-old precedent in which all presidential candidates provide the public their taxes for transparency’s sake on business dealings, taxes paid, and overall wealth.

The magazine’s bounty is bold but seemingly lawful, one lawyer said, because the tweet was so carefully worded. Jay Leiderman, a California attorney known for his work defending hacktivists, explains 2600 magazine’s phrasing:

The tweet that 2600 sent out is, on its face, not soliciting illegal activity.  However, having said that, the universe of people that would have the ability to lawfully release the tax returns is miniscule.  Moreover, those that would be authorized to release the tax returns probably make about $10,000.00 per day.  Accordingly, there is little possibility that 2600 could get the tax returns without someone acting unlawfully to obtain them. 

Even so, in that the tweet was carefully worded, I don’t see 2600 having any liability for the solicitation.  Or, in other words, I believe that 2600 acted lawfully. 

Monday night’s presidential debate featured a particularly heated moment between Trump and Hillary Clinton in which the Democratic nominee, whose taxes are public, said Trump may be hiding his taxes to exaggerate his wealth, hide tax avoidance, and obfuscate who he does business with.

Trump hit back, saying he’d release his tax returns when Clinton released the 33,000 emails that were deleted from her email server as secretary of state.

2600: The Hacker Quarterly is a 32-year-old publication that’s remained influential among the information security community for decades.

Many cheered its Trump-tax bounty—which is extended to the Republican candidate’s family and campaign staffers—but a few cautioned against the magazine’s move. 

2600 took the criticism in stride.

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*First Published: Sep 28, 2016, 5:56 pm CDT