In an apparent attempt to force President Donald Trump to choose between releasing his financial records and being on the 2020 ballot, nearly 20 blue states recently introduced legislation that would require all presidential and vice presidential candidates to provide their individual tax returns to enter the running for a presidential or general election. Per Salon, the introduction of the new legislation was discovered in data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
As of now, bills proposing the new requirement are pending in 14 states, including California, Hawaii, New York, and New Mexico. A few exceptions aside, all of the state bills would require prospective presidential candidates to disclose at least five years of their individual tax returns. Not only that, but every state bill was introduced by a Democratic lawmaker.
Presidents are not required by law to disclose their tax returns. But despite this reality, every major party presidential nominee since the 1970s has chosen to release their tax returns to the public — the only exception being Gerald Ford, who released a summary instead. Many argue that disclosing financial information helps provide a more accurate picture of a candidate’s business investments and interests through donations, assets, business relationships, investments, and potential conflicts of interest.
CNN reported that the Trump administration once again missed the Tuesday deadline from House Democrats for six years of the president’s tax returns. As The Inquisitr reported, the returns were requested using an obscure statute that makes it legal to obtain and publicize Trump’s tax returns.
Judge Andrew Napolitano previously said on Fox & Friends that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would likely refuse to release Trump’s tax returns.
“Mnuchin is not going to release it voluntarily, even though the statute says that he must.”
And he was right — Mnuchin responded to the request by claiming that the Justice Department must review its legality. He said that he will respond to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal — who made the request — by May 6.
Democratic lawmakers in New York embarked on a separate push for Trump’s returns earlier this month by attempting to give the state’s tax commissioner the power to release state tax returns to Congress upon request.
Former Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a similar bill last year, calling it a “transparent political stunt.” In addition, California Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, also vetoed a similar bill in 2017, suggesting that it’s a “slippery slope” that could lead to individual states increasing requirements for candidates in the future.
“Today we require tax returns, but what would be next? Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power?”