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New State Bill Would Require Presidential Candidates To Release Tax Returns

By aaroncynic in News on Feb 8, 2017 9:42PM

State Sen. Daniel Biss at an event at the Merchandise Mart in 2014. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty
While many Americans are still only beginning to adjust to life under a Donald Trump presidency in 2017, some are already thinking ahead to election 2020.

Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss introduced a bill in the Springfield legislature Tuesday which would require candidates for President and Vice President to release their tax returns if they want to appear on the ballot in Illinois.

According to SB982:

“No candidate for President or Vice-President of the United States shall appear on the official ballot for the general election if that candidate has not released his or her tax returns at least 5 days prior to the date set for certification of the ballot for the general election.”

Candidates would have to release returns for at least the five previous years.

“As voters are called upon to vote for the best possible candidate for president, they should have as much information as possible about their options,” Biss told Evanston Now. “Donald Trump ran for president in large part by boasting about his business prowess, but he refused to make his tax returns public and deprived voters of the opportunity to check up on that record.”

Illinois isn’t alone in the push to make a legal demand to see a candidate for President’s tax returns. According to Bloomberg BNA, more than a dozen states have similar pending legislation.

Trump is the first president in four decades to break with tradition and withhold his tax returns, which both he and his campaign have justified by pointing to an ongoing audit. Critics however, have pointed to any number of potential other reasons, including conflicts of interest that continue to play out almost weekly.

“This situation is dangerous, and it is wrong,” said Biss. “It’s our right as Americans to demand the highest ethical standards from those who seek the presidency and ask us to put our trust in them.”