LinkedIn co-founder promises $5 million donation if Donald Trump releases tax returns

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LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman is the latest Silicon Valley mogul to put some of his personal fortune on the line this election season with a promise to donate $5 million to veteran affairs groups if Donald Trump agrees to release his personal tax returns.

Hoffman is taking his cue from a crowdfunding campaign launched by U.S. Marine veteran Pete Kiernan, who is hoping to raise $1 million for the same purpose.

The networking site entrepreneur said he'd add his own $5 million to the pot as soon as the campaign hit its goal. As of Monday afternoon, the total raised sits at just over $6,000.

Kiernan wants Trump to be held to the same standards as members of the U.S. military, who must undergo rigorous background checks to ensure they're fit for service.

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Business leaders who endorse Donald Trump
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Business leaders who endorse Donald Trump

Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes 

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Peter Thiel, Venture Capitalist, co-founder of PayPal

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Kenneth Langone, co-founder of The Home Depot

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Bernard 'Bernie' Marcus, co-founder and former chairman of Home Depot 

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Pete Coors, Chairman of MillerCoors

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Linda McMahon, formerly CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment

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Brian France, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR

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Herman Cain, American author and business executive

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Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard

"Trump claims to love veterans," Kiernan writes. "So we're asking him to put his money where his mouth is."

Hoffman, whose net worth was boosted substantially when Microsoft acquired his site earlier this year, pointed out in a Medium post that the $5 million he pledged is the same amount Trump offered Obama for his college records and passport applications during the 2012 presidential election.

"There's no real reason that Trump is keeping his returns secret, except that he sees them as a bargaining chip to utilize," Hoffman writes.

"In a functioning democracy, the public shouldn't be forced to bargain with a major presidential candidate to obtain access to his tax returns."

The matter of what may or may not be hidden within Trump's tax returns has become a sticking point this election as the GOP candidate has consistently refused to release them. Historically, doing so is customary for presidential candidates.

Hoffman isn't the first big name in the industry to publicly throw their weight behind a candidate. Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz took aim at Trump last week with a $20 million donation to various Democratic groups.

Meanwhile, billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel, ever the eccentric outlier, has campaigned ardently for Trump, even going so far as to speak at the Republican National Convention.

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