Democrats’ bill would require presidents, nominees to release tax returns

The Wisconsin Gazette

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is cosponsoring legislation introduced by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden that would require the president-elect to release his recent tax returns in order to give the public honest insight into his actions, values and foreign business dealings.

“President-elect Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns makes it clear he has something to hide from the American people, ” Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, said in a statement released on Jan. 4. “The public deserves to know if their president has taken advantage of tax loopholes or put his income or profits in off shore accounts in order to pay a lower tax rate than Wisconsin middle-class families.”

She added, “People also deserve to know how President-elect Trump will personally benefit from foreign deals or his own tax cut proposals. Either President-elect Trump releases his tax returns or he explains to the people he works for why he believes he is entitled to keep secrets.”

The Presidential Tax Transparency Act would require a sitting president to release his or her most recent three years of tax returns to the Office of Government Ethics.

The legislation also would require that within 15 days of becoming the nominee at the party convention, presidential nominees must release their most recent three years of tax returns to the Federal Election Commission.

Should a sitting president or future candidates refuse to comply, the treasury secretary will be required to provide the tax returns directly to the OGE or FEC respectively for public release.

For nearly 40 years — since the Watergate crisis — candidates from major political parties have voluntarily released tax returns during the campaign.

Senate cosponsors of Wyden’s Presidential Tax Transparency Act include Baldwin and  Michael Bennet of Colorado, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Dianne Feinstein of California, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Tom Udall of New Mexico and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

On the Web

Click here for a summary of the bill.

The bill text can be found here.