US POLITICS

Petition Calling For Trump’s Tax Return Is One Of Top Government Pages

But technical errors seem to be affecting many would-be signatories

US POLITICS
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Jan 20, 2017 at 4:19 PM ET

(Update: As of 5:30 p.m. EST, the petition appears to have amassed over 17,000 signatures, though the number of signees has been fluctuating due to likely caching difficulties. Site visitors appear to be experiencing fewer issues signing the petition.)

Mere hours following the inauguration of President Donald Trump, a White House “We the People” petition calling for the immediate release of President Donald Trump’s full tax returns has gained enough interest to become the second-most popular government website, according to the government’s analytics web site.

The petition is about a controversial issue Trump recently claimed Americans “don’t care at all” about: his tax returns, which may reveal past financial improprieties. However, while over 7,000 people were visiting the web page when Vocativ checked on Friday, many seem to be experiencing issues signing it. So far, over 3,300 people have signed.

Upon trying to report the issue via online webform, some people are being met with the same error message one now receives in attempting to access other White House webpages on civil rights, LGBT rights, and climate change. While the former creative director and digital strategist for the White House under Obama recently announced that the “We the People” page had been redesigned in hopes that it would be used under the Trump administration, Obama’s chief digital officer noted that the continuation of the tradition would be “ultimately up to the incoming team.” (When Vocativ attempted to reach out to Trump’s team via the White House Media Resources web page, that link could also not be found.)

The petition, created by a person identified only as “A.D.,” was the first of the new administration to be filed on “We the people,” an Open Government Initiative project created by former President Barack Obama in 2011. Since the platform was first created, over 500,000 petitions had been filed by U.S. citizens seeking executive response from matters ranging from the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence (which was ultimately successful) to the creation of a “Star Wars”-inspired Death Star (which was not).

“The unprecedented economic conflicts of this administration need to be visible to the American people, including any pertinent documentation which can reveal the foreign influences and financial interests which may put Donald Trump in conflict with the emoluments clause of the Constitution,” the petition reads.

Under the Obama administration, the protocol was that if a petition was virtually signed by 100,000 people in 30 days, it would be reviewed and met with an official response.

As of January 20, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. EST, there was only one other petition: “Divest or put in a blind trust all of the President’s business and financial assets.” So far, both petitions have been “tagged” with the theme of government and regulatory reform, which was the tag listed on only 16 percent of all petitions from 2011 until the end of the Obama administration, according to Pew. During that time, human rights and civil rights were the most commonly-used tags.