As reported in the New York Times, LA Times, Boston Globe, and Maine Public, state assembly leaders in New York, California, Massachusetts, and Maine are introducing legislation that can fix some of the damage done by the 2016 election.
The Tax Returns for Ballot Access Act would force candidates for president to release up to ten years of tax returns, stock holdings, and business relationships to the state level board of elections no later than 50 days before the general election, which would in turn redact personal information and make the returns public. Failure to comply with the legislation should it become law would prohibit the state’s electors from voting for that candidate and the candidate’s name would not appear on the state ballot. The President elect’s refusal to disclose his tax returns, stock holdings, and business relationships denied voters an important perspective on the candidate’s potential conflicts of interests as well as their financial well-being and how much he gave to charity. The current lack of transparency with his financial relationships places our country at a higher security risk. Since the Republican administration and congress would be unlikely to act on this, this becomes a matter for the states. And thus it is up to Democrat majority states like Rhode Island to lead the nation in requiring tax and financial disclosure for the 2020 Presidential election for ballot access in the state.