The saga of Donald Trump and his tax returns seems to be a never-ending issue. A newly-signed democratic-backed bill would bar Trump’s name from the 2020 state ballot unless he turns over his past five years of tax returns, something the president has refused to do numerous times.
Lawyers who are familiar with the bill have claimed that while it may be “constitutional,” it should come as no surprise that it will be challenged by Republicans and the White House. Senators from the state of Washington voted on the bill, approving it 28-21 on Tuesday evening, the Daily Mail reported.
The Democrats have been after the president’s tax returns even before he took office in 2016. The argument is that every other sitting president, besides Richard Nixon who resigned before he was impeached, had released their tax returns.
Republicans, on the other hand, are expecting this to be taken to the highest courts — and they don’t expect it to be cheap either. “We’re on really risky ground when we’re trying to place conditions on a federal election,” Republican Hans Zeiger said.
If the bill goes into effect after it’s fought in court, it could give unprecedented power to a single state. In fact, it could muddy up the judicial waters for states who opt to do the same thing. A similar bill was put forth in February 2017 in New Jersey but was vetoed by former governor Chris Christie.
Originally, Trump said he would be releasing his taxes shortly after the IRS was done auditing him. This did not happen. Since taking over the House, Democrats have been hellbent on having Trump taxes released, which typically includes listed earnings, sources of income, and strategies he used to minimize his tax bill.
The push for any presidential candidate’s tax returns isn’t new. In fact, it’s typically used by candidates to show the public that they’re clean and trustworthy.
“Although releasing tax returns has been the norm for about the last 40 years in presidential elections, unfortunately we’ve seen that norm broken,” Democratic Sen. Patty Kuderer said after supporting the bill.
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives where it is expected to meet resistance.