There are lawmakers in almost half of the states in the country that want to include a requirement for anyone who wants to run as president to show the country their tax returns.
The Tax Issue and President Trump
This is the one issue that has followed President Trump from the campaign trail to the White House, and he is one of the first candidates in modern history to publicly refuse to provide his tax returns. The topic was reignited this past week as the network MSNBC stated that it was able to obtain two pages from President Trump’s 2005 federal tax return. This prompted the administration to pre-emptively release the documents to the public.
A large group of lawmakers from several states, primarily Democrats, would like to ensure that future presidential candidates are transparent so that voters will be able to evaluate every candidate’s income sources for any conflicts of interests. Many of the bills that are being considered would require that a candidate releases their tax returns before their names could appear on a ballot. However, it is not yet known if this bill would pass constitutional muster.
Why the Demand for This Type of Bill?
Democratic lawmakers, some Republican lawmakers and online MST degree graduates believe that this bill would allow the American voters to see if the candidates they are interested in may have a conflict of interest before going into office. One of these bills has been introduced in Hawaii.
Many Democrats believe that from what the current administration has shown, there are some conflicts of interests that are very clear and the President’s business empire could very well be benefiting from federal contracts.
For example, some members of the Secret Service have been housed at one of the President’s hotels. Another example is rumors that the administration has pressured dignitaries from other countries indirectly to patronize companies that are operated by the President or one of his children.
The Conflict between States and the Constitution
Hawaii was one of the first states to have votes before the Legislature regarding this bill. The House and Senate, both with a democratic majority, recently voted on and passed similar measures in Hawaii. These measures would prevent a delegate from the state to the Electoral College to vote for a candidate who did not provide their tax returns.
Lawmakers would probably send only one of these proposed bills to Gov. David Ige’s desk. Gov. Ige, a Democrat, has recently expressed concerns as to whether these types of bills are constitutional. He does not believe that states have the power to put limits on the election that would be considered inconsistent with the way the election is conducted across the country.
Other online MST program professionals have also raised red flags about the bill proposal. The states do not have the power to create additional requirements for a US presidential candidate. Only the Constitution can enforce requirements.
These bills that are being introduced by the states are similar to the birth certificate issue that surrounded President Obama’s presidency, and the birth certificate legislation that was subsequently introduced. These are considered political statement bills and are rarely legal under the Constitution or signed into law.