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The state senate today passed on a 32-19 vote a bill sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) that would require presidential candidates to disclose five years’ worth of income tax returns to appear on the ballot in Illinois.

“This is about transparency and good government,” Biss said. “It’s something we need, and, frankly, it’s something I wish we’d had a year and a half ago.”

The proposal, Senate Bill 982, now goes to to the Illinois House for consideration.

Federal law requires presidential candidates to complete financial disclosure forms that include information about income, property, liabilities, investments and certain financial interests of family members, but candidates are not required to release tax returns. Until 2016, major-party candidates for president voluntarily had released their returns since the Ford administration in an effort to appear transparent with voters.

Biss said voters should be able to look at information about a presidential candidate’s sources of income and investments so they can understand where potential conflicts of interests may lie – a critical consideration for the most powerful elected office in the nation.

“Voters should be able to make up their own minds a candidate based upon their own priorities and their own interests,” Biss said. “I think we can all agree that it is in the public’s best interest to make sure they have all the information they need to make the best possible decision at the polls.”

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8 Comments

  1. Another political point made
    Just another political stunt by a career politician. This guy should have to work for a living.

    1. Ditto

      Does anybody really think Biss is a smart guy because he hasn’t shown in the last 10 years. This will more than likely go to SCOTUS and be declared unconstitutional like so many similar rulings in the past. It is call interfering with rules of a federal election.

  2. Public’s Best Interest

    Why stop at the Presidency?  Make the 5 years of tax returns manditory for every candidate for every office.  The voters need transparency on all levels of government not just one or two.  We’ll be looking for Mr. Biss’ returns first.

  3. Tax Disclosure

    Yep, I missed the article.  Thanks for the info.  Still think all candidates should put up tax returns.

    1. Nice try, but probably courts will throw out
      I’m sure he thinks this will win him support for his run for office but courts will probably consider un-constitutional—laws would have to be changed [so far no law either way]. Also an individual state can’t probably make such a rule.
      Effect will be another bill will to tie up the Legislature [don’t they already have enough left to do] and cost tax-payers money—not that government bodies care.
      Even if passed and found to be legal, it would not apply for several years and then only apply to the general election. I can’t see how any such ruling with out a nationwide law would keep a Presidential candidate off the ballot. Sounds like something Iran or a South American government would try.

  4. Another dumb trick…
    Designed by and for people with no real world experience.

    So… President Trump has his business, like many real estate people, inside an S-Corp. Which means that his personal tax return gives his competitors a valuable insight into the state of his projects.

    Former two-time candidates Clinton has her dirty laundry wrapped inside separate corporate entities called Foundation and Global Initiative.

    Guess which returns we don’t get to see under this bill?

  5. A more serious bill is needed.
    Dan Biss’ bill to require the President to disclose his taxes to be on the Illinois ballot, is probably just trying to score points with voters, esp. Democrats, and have his name on Bills for running for Governor or other positions. It probably has no chance of getting passed and signed, let alone passing legal hurdles—and will only tie the legislature up and cost taxpayers money.
    A serious bill to deal with what he and many would like to see would be how to handle the financial dealings of elected and other officials.
    In the case of Trump’s daughter and relatives [esp. the former who has no experience/knowledge that requires her in government], it would seem simple—total divestment or stay out of government. For others who have wealth but knowledge where a position in government would be valid and hopefully useful [none of Trump’s family would probably qualify under this], it is more difficult. How do you separate your business interest while in government have no control of them, still knowing when you leave government that you can reap the assets and how they grew while in government. Conversion to Treasury Bonds or Mutual Funds would work but not be practical when your wealth is millions or billions or a family business or even something you built-up. A Trust [no matter how ‘blind’] will not really work. Not easy but Congress was not elected to solve just easy questions.
    One problem is that many good candidates not only for elected office but positions that require divesting or walling off their business interests. We hear of good honest people who have to refuse government service because their wealth or business interests can’t be effectively walled off.
    Probably even if Biss had such a bill, it would have to be Congress that would have to adopt it and make sure it is legal.

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