Rhode Island Passes Bill to Keep Trump Off 2020 Ballot If He Doesn't Release Tax Returns
Rhode Island’s state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would require candidates for president and vice president to make their tax returns public in order to get on the Rhode Island ballot.
The bill -- which passed by a 34-to-3 vote -- now goes to the state House.
The legislation's lead sponsor, Sen. Gayle Goldin (D), noted that every presidential candidate since Richard Nixon voluntarily released their tax returns until Donald Trump's presidential run.
"Tax returns provide essential information about candidates’ conflicts of interest," Goldin argued.
During Trump’s campaign for the Oval Office, he faced heavy criticism for not releasing copies of his tax returns.
Trump refrained from making his filings public, saying they were under audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and he would release them once the review was complete.
In interview I told @AP that my taxes are under routine audit and I would release my tax returns when audit is complete, not after election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 11, 2016
Tax experts throughout the media agree that no sane person would give their tax returns during an audit. After the audit, no problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 27, 2016
The IRS, however, has said an audit does not prevent a candidate from releasing their personal tax information.
The only portion of his tax returns to come out publicly was part of his 2005 return, which was leaked to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow in March 2017.
During a 2016 presidential debate, Hillary Clinton accused Trump of refusing to release the returns because they would show his failure to pay federal taxes.
"That makes me smart," Trump countered.