Illinois Senate bill would bar Trump from 2020 ballot unless tax returns released

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WEEK) — A bill requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns before they could appear on the ballot passed the Illinois Senate this week.

Senate Bill 145 would require presidential and vice presidential candidates to publish their last five years’ worth of tax returns with the Secretary of State’s Office before they could appear on the primary or general election ballot.

The bill adds Illinois to a list of mostly Democrat-dominated state governments adding tax return publishing requirements to their ballot requirements. President Donald Trump declined to release his tax returns during the 2016 campaign, claiming he wouldn’t release them until the returns were no longer under audit by the Internal Revenue Service.

Recently, the White House rebuffed efforts from the Democrat-controlled U.S. House to obtain Trump’s tax returns. That battle is ongoing at the federal level.

Publishing tax returns has been a tradition for presidential candidates for decades, though it is not mandated by federal law.

“Voters have a right to know a presidential candidate’s conflicts of interests,” Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) said. “They have reasonably expected this disclosure for decades, and if candidates won’t release the information willingly, then we need a law in place that requires it.”

The Illinois Senate Republican Caucus opposed the bill, noting the U.S. Supreme Court has twice ruled it unconstitutional for states to add requirements to a federal office.

The bill now heads to the House for a vote.

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