U.S. presidential candidates would be barred from appearing on the ballot in Illinois unless they release five years of their income tax returns under legislation introduced today by Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston).

Biss says the measure is designed to ensure Illinois voters have important information about the financial interests of candidates who seek the most powerful and influential job in the world.


“As voters are called upon to vote for the best possible candidate for president, they should have as much information as possible about their options,” Biss said. “Donald Trump ran for president in large part by boasting about his business prowess, but he refused to make his tax returns public and deprived voters of the opportunity to check up on that record.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 982, also requires vice presidential candidates to release their returns. Candidates would file copies of their Internal Revenue Service returns at least five days prior to certification of the general election ballot.

Biss cited a recent New York Times report that paints an alarming picture of the financial conflicts of interest that entangle President Trump, including several that could sway his foreign policy decisions. The article noted that the extent of Trump’s global financial entanglements is unclear because he has released neither his tax returns nor a list of his lenders.

“In other words, without seeing President Trump’s tax returns, we can’t even figure out what conflicts of interest may be out there,” Biss said. “This situation is dangerous, and it is wrong. It’s our right as Americans to demand the highest ethical standards from those who seek the presidency and ask us to put our trust in them.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Agree with Biss
    This is probably the only time I have ever agreed with a Biss proposal. If he is out to get Trump it will not make much of a difference because most of the state votes, pretty much. left of center.

    There is one change I’d like to see in the legislation and I don’t know if 5 years of tax returns is the right number. I would like to see it applied to all state wide elected offices, state legislative offices, and all U. S. legislative offices. If this is good for the Illinois citizens knowledge bass of the PONTUS candidates, it will certainly be beneficial when voting for major elective offices in Illinois.

    1. Agreed.  Please pursue.

      Agreed.  Allowing the Tribune and others in the media access to Michael Madigan’s tax return (as the governor has already released his), among others, would be welcomed. 

      Mr. Biss — please pursue.

    2. Apply bottom up
      This should be required from aldermen up to and through the President.
      The cities and state should be able to apply this very rapidly.

    1. Bill to make presidential candidates show tax returns

      How about  a bill that requires passing a balanced budget in Illinois? Oh yeah, there already is. We need to get our financial house in order 1st.

  2. Biss proposal that Pres. candidates release tax returns
    Daniel Biss at his best. We need to know any conflicts of interest in candidates for political office. Expand the plan so law covers all elected to national and statewide offices. Transparency is the best way to learn about candidates self-interest. Thanks Daniel

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