Presidential candidates would be forced to release tax returns under new state proposal

Posted at 11:27 AM, Mar 08, 2017

LANSING, Mich. — Candidates for President and Vice President of the United States would be forced to release their tax returns in order to get on the ballot in Michigan under a new proposal being considered by lawmakers.

The state Senate proposal would require presidential and vice presidential candidates to file a copy of their federal tax returns for the previous five years with the Michigan Secretary of State. Those returns would then be made publicly available online.

The proposal would only apply to future elections.

>> READ: Michigan SB 0216

The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, comes as President Donald Trump continues to face scrutiny for not releasing his tax returns. During the campaign, Trump said he would release his returns but only when an audit was complete.

“The citizens of Michigan and the American people deserve to know what potential conflicts of interest a presidential candidate and their running mate have, and these potential conflicts can be made clear by turning this federal precedent into state law,” Bieda said in a statement.

“The Office of the President is not a private business, it is an office of public service.”

A presidential candidate and their running mate would not be allowed on the ballot in Michigan in the presidential election if they failed to submit their five most recent years of federal and state income tax returns, Bieda said.

Last month, Congressional House Republicans blocked an attempt by Democrats to force President Donald Trump to release his tax returns to Congress.

Trump has said he has no investments in Russia, and Democrats acknowledged they have no evidence otherwise. They said that is one reason they want to obtain access to Trump’s returns.

Similar legislation has been proposed by lawmakers in California, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York, The Washington Post reports.