Election 2016

Did Marla Maples Leak Donald Trump's Tax Return?

If the rumor's true, it would be the ultimate in ex-wife revenge.

Photo Credit: Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock.com

Since her divorce from the human Cheeto, Marla Maples has been living in California, devoting her life to charitable causes, studying Kabbalah, and more recently, throwing enough subtle, expert shade at her ex-husband to make a grown drag queen cry, like when she told the New York Times, referring to her daughter Tiffany, that she "had the blessing of raising her pretty much on my own.”

Journalists are now speculating that Maples may have been the source of the 1995 tax returns in the Times' weekend bombshell of a report that Trump hasn't paid taxes for the last 18 years. 

Speculation over the identity of the leaker began almost as soon as the article came out this weekend. Maples, to whom Trump was married in 1995, filed jointly with her husband, which would give her access to the documents. Also, it would be perfectly legal for Maples to release her own returns, which would protect her from the legal action Trump's lawyers promised against the paper. On Medium, writer Yashar Ali points to Maples' signature on a New Jersey non-resident form, and the fact that Times reporters didn't make clear whether they asked her for comment in the report.

Another theory, from the Daily Beast's Olivia Nuzzi, involves quotes from her September profile of Maples, in which Maples says, "I have always been more liberal...and I believe in gay and lesbian rights and I believe everyone on this planet has a right to choice. So, I just don’t feel it’s productive for me to go judging another person’s choices." And in 1999 article in the London Telegraph, Maples was quoted as saying, “If he is really serious about being president and runs in the general election next year, I will not be silent … I will feel it is my duty as an American citizen to tell the people what he is really like.” Maples told Nuzzi she didn't recall making those comments to the Telegraph, but also said she was reluctant to directly criticize Donald Trump, fearing it would hurt Tiffany's relationship with her father.

Nuzzi's therory involves a tweet that features a picture of a pumpkin patch with the caption, "“#FallLove Breathe it in as if 2day’s the first day of your life. The kabbalist’s say 2nite Adam&Eve were created. S…." Some may see a wish for a happy new year, but as Nuzzi points out, Politico reporter Marc Caputo responded to Maples with: 

“TFW you serve up a cold plate of revenge and then appreciate fall as you think about Etz Hayim, the Shekinah & Isaac ben Luria. Twitter user @PoliticalBuffs then replied to Maples and Caputo, “wow. How do u know abt those stuff? [sic]”To which Maples said, 'A lot of studying & an open mind to learn' with both a star emoji and a prayer emoji."

 

Nuzzi suggests this might be not only a celebration of her openness to Kabbalah, but her willingness to be open with her financial files.  

The returns were found in New York Times Metro section reporter Suzanne Craig's mailbox. Craig normally covers local politics, which might make her a unlikely recipient of documents related to a presidential candidate, but she personally drew Trump's ire for articles she wrote and co-wrote questioning his business skills and his much-hyped position as a New York power broker.

The public has Craig's obsessive mailbox checking to thank for the swift discovery of the records. As she wrote, "My colleagues make fun of my old-fashioned devotion to my mailbox," but it turns out this dedication paid off. The question is, would Maples have known? If she did, it would be a rare case of an ex-wife's revenge having additional benefits for the American people. 

Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.

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