Ever since President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Democratic lawmakers have demanded that the billionaire businessman release his tax return information. And though he has yet to comply with their requests, state lawmakers are deliberating whether to set a prerequisite requiring that tax returns be released, Salon reports.
Lawmakers across almost 20 states are considering bills that necessitate all presidential and vice presidential hopefuls to disclose their tax returns before being allowed to show up on the ballot. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), tax return disclosure bills for presidential candidates are pending in fourteen states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Similar bills introduced earlier this year did not pass in Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Virginia.
Though the specific details of the bills in each state differ from one another, a vast majority require that hopefuls release, at the minimum, five years of their individual tax information. The proposals have been introduced by a Democratic lawmakers across virtually every state, highlighting the Democratic party’s frustration with President Trump’s failure to disclose his taxes leading up to his presidency.
During his campaign, the president vowed to make his tax returns public. But in February 2016, he seemed hesitant, before eventually arguing that he cannot release his returns because the IRS is auditing him. Critics have largely pointed out that audits do not stop taxpayers from releasing their tax returns.
Speaking to a panel of congressional lawmakers in February, Trump’s former “fixer” Michael Cohen stated that he does not believe the IRS is auditing President Trump.
2020 Democratic candidates including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have already released the past decade of their tax returns, in part to highlight Trump’s failure to presently do so.