OLYMPIA, Wash., March 14, 2019 — Late on Tuesday, March 12, the Washington State Senate passed SB 5078, sponsored by Senator Patty Kuderer (48th District – Bellevue), in a 28-21 vote, requiring presidential candidates to disclose five years of tax returns in order be on the ballot in Washington State. This bill now goes to the State House. Several last-minute amendments were floated in a failed attempt to kill the bill. The amendments were ruled out of the scope of the measure by the Lt. Governor. Presidential Transparency, a Washington-based national network that exists to help restore the American people’s trust in their government, congratulates the Washington Senate for passing SB 5078.
Viewing a candidate’s tax returns is an essential tool to help voters choose a President without corrupting financial or foreign entanglements. Requiring the release of presidential tax returns is constitutional and sound good-government policy. The Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution requires that the President not be beholden to foreign powers. Presidents have been required to release financial disclosure files since the 1978 Ethics in Gov’t Act, upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court in 1988. Releasing tax returns dates back to Richard Nixon releasing his returns in 1973. Requiring all candidates who wish to appear on a primary or general election ballot is non-partisan and politically neutral, according to Constitutional Law Affiliate Professor Jeffrey M. Feldman’s written testimony.
The U.S. House last week passed HR 1 which would require the release of 10 years of tax returns. But it is not expected to even be considered in the U.S. Senate. So states like Washington are taking up the issue on their own. Successfully passing SB 5078 in the Senate places Washington State in the company of two other states, New Jersey and Hawaii, who have passed similar bills through at least one house this year. Upon passage by the House, SB 5078 will head to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk. Governor Inslee has previously released eight years of tax returns when he was running for governor in 2012 and 2016. California and New Jersey are expected to pass this requirement and their new governors (who have both also released their tax returns) are expected to sign the bills into law. Twenty-six states have introduced tax return bills, one by a Republican in Connecticut.
“Congratulations to the Washington Senate. Passing SB 5078 puts our state on the right side of history.” – Katy Griffith, Press Officer, Presidential Transparency
About Presidential Transparency
Presidential Transparency is a national network that exists to help restore the American people’s trust in their government. Starting with the highest office, its goal is to daylight the financial history of candidates, to fight corruption and to promote good government.
SOURCE Presidential Transparency