U.S. presidential candidates would be barred from appearing on the ballot in Illinois until they release five years of their income tax returns under legislation introduced on Feb. 7 by Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston).
The measure is designed to ensure Illinois voters have important information about the financial interests of candidates who seek the most powerful and influential job in the world.
“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,” Sen. Biss said. “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.”
The legislation, Senate Bill 982, also requires vice presidential candidates to release their returns. Candidates would file copies of their returns with the Internal Revenue Service at least five days prior to certification of the general election ballot.
Sen. Biss cited a recent New York Times report (“Potential conflicts around the globe for Trump, the businessman president,” Nov. 26, 2016) that paints an alarming picture of the financial conflicts of interest that entangle President Trump, including several that could sway his foreign policy decisions. The article noted that the extent of Trump’s global financial entanglements is unclear because he has released neither his tax returns nor a list of his lenders.
“In other words, without seeing President Trump’s tax returns, we can’t even figure out what conflicts of interest may be out there,” Sen. Biss said. “This situation is dangerous, and it is wrong. 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.”