Cheska PerezCheska Perez, an undocumented immigrant, volunteers during the march in Denver demanding Trump to release his tax returns. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)
Tay AndersonTay Anderson, a senior at Manuel High School who is running for a seat on the Denver Public School board, speaks to the crowd at the March for President Donald Trump's Tax Returns in Denver
DENVER – Thousands of people from across Colorado descended on Civic Center Park in Denver on Saturday to rally and march for the release of President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
During the march, many were holding signs with phrases like “Trump Lies Matter” and “Kiss Our Asses, Release Your Taxes.” There were also chants of “hey hey, ho ho, you lost the popular vote” and “we need a leader, not a crappy tweeter.” One woman wearing a “nasty woman” t-shirt had a sign saying “you’ve made me an activist (again) at 90 years old.”
One of the keynote speakers at the rally was Jared Polis, representative of Colorado’s second congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. Polis said his attendance was his way of showing solidarity with the movement to demand the release of Trump’s taxes and to restore integrity to the highest political office in the nation.
“The people deserve to know if he’s beholden to Russian financial oligarchs,” Polis said. “We deserve that level of transparency from all our presidential candidates, Democratic and Republican, in the future.”
Polis says that he is currently a sponsor of a bill that would advise candidates to release their taxes. He has also introduced a resolution in the house instructing the Ways and Means Committee to release Trump’s taxes, a power that he says they have.
“We were able to force a vote on that and we got at least one Republican to join us in supporting that,” Polis said.
He has hope that Democrats can eventually get the legislation to be passed and that support from the people will make it more likely.
“With public pressure, like these marches, like letters and calls to your elected officials, hopefully we’ll build the movement to
demand transparency,” said Polis.
Samantha Montgomery, the organizer of the event, was surprised and happy at how the event turned out.
“Right from the beginning we had the perfect volunteers show up,” Montgomery said. “I had an event planner volunteer, I had a legal aid volunteer… it just sort of fell into place and I was really lucky in that regard… I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t as much as this.”
One of the initiatives of the rally was to support and push through legislation, including a ballot initiative that the group itself created. The ballot initiative would require all elected officials at the state and national level to release their tax returns from the past five years.
“We’re trying to bring the power back to the people,” Montgomery said. “As long as you sign this, this will happen for you. We don’t have to rely on committees anymore.”
One of the people in attendance, Mariah Stopplecamp, a student at Montana State University, thinks that the legislation is a great idea.
“If you have something to hide, you shouldn’t be a politician,” Stopplecamp said. “Having a cleaner government that’s more open would be very beneficial.”
Stopplecamp also believes that others who are supportive of the movement need to make themselves heard.
“Speak out, use your voice, make sure the government knows what you want,” she said.
One man, Adam Famad, was just visiting Denver and was not part of the rally or march, nor did he know that it was going to happen. However, he said he liked the idea of the event.
“I think it’s really cool,” Famad said. “I’ve seen protestors on TV and seeing it in person is much different. There’s so many people, it gives you energy. It’s pretty impressive.”
Montgomery has plans for two more events that she hopes to organize before November: a “Russian Conflicts of Interest March” and an “Income Inequality and Tax Inequality March.”
Collegian reporters Stuart Smith and Jenna Schuster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @notstuartsmith and @SchusterJenna.