Rhode Island Senate Passes Bill Requiring Presidential Candidates To Reveal Tax Information, Or Be Left Off Election Ballot

On Tuesday, the Rhode Island state Senate voted overwhelmingly (34-3) in favor of a bill (2018-S 2612A) that would require presidential candidates to release their tax records in order to be allowed on the state’s primary and general election ballots.

The bill states in part:

(a) Not later than sixty-three (63) days before a presidential preference primary ... all candidates for presidential nomination shall:

(1) File with the state board of elections a copy of their federal income tax returns ... for at least the five (5) most recent taxable years for which a return has been filed with the Internal Revenue Service...

(d) Presidential candidates who fail to comply with the disclosure regulations of this section shall not appear on the official presidential primary ballot...

Candidates for president and vice president who fail to comply with the disclosure regulations of this section shall not appear on the official general election ballot.

The bill will now head to the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Senator Gayle Goldin (D) released a statement regarding the bill, which she sponsored:

Especially considering his vast real estate holdings and the wide reach of his family’s companies and assets, President Trump’s lack of transparency raises significant questions about how he may be personally benefiting from the tax overhaul he promoted and signed. We could not help but question every carve-out for businesses, like those for real estate holdings and allowing the PGA to maintain its nonprofit status, and wonder what his personal benefit is going to be.

Because of his refusal to release his returns, we will never know how his personal investments might affect his decisions regarding anything from foreign policy to relations with our neighbors, and that is an affront to the rest of us who are taxpayers. For the sake of ensuring fair government, we should enact our expectation that presidential candidates provide this information to the public.

According to Ballotpedia, the Rhode Island House of Representatives is comprised of 64 Democrats and 11 Republicans. If political affiliation is any indication, the House will likely vote to pass the legislation. The state Senate, which voted 34-3 in favor of the bill, is comprised of 33 Democrats and 4 Republicans.


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