Trump must release his tax returns or be barred from state’s 2020 election ballot, Illinois senate votes

'If you’ve got nothing to hide, you shouldn’t worry about anything,' senator says

Tom Embury-Dennis
Friday 12 April 2019 13:03 BST
Donald Trump 'will never release tax returns' claims White House official Mick Mulvaney

Donald Trump will have to release five years of tax returns if he wants appear on the Illinois 2020 presidential ballot, the state's senate has ruled.

The bill, which still requires approval by the Prairie State's House of Representatives, comes amid a growing row in Washington over Mr Trump’s unprecedented refusal to make publicly available his income tax returns.

The US Treasury ignored a congressional deadline to release the documents earlier this week. Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed the request by the House ways and means committee was “politically motivated”.

Mr Trump himself has claimed that he cannot release his tax returns because they are under audit, although technically there is nothing preventing him from doing so.

In Illinois, the bill would need to be signed into law by Democratic governor Jay Robert Pritzjer, if it passes through the House which is also controlled by Mr Trump's political rivals. Mr Pritzjer is yet to take a public stance on the issue.

Tony Munoz, the state senator who sponsored the bill said: “If you want to run for vice president or president of the United States, hey, what’s wrong with providing your tax returns for the past five years?”

The veteran Democrat added: “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you shouldn’t worry about anything. That’s how I see it.”

But the move drew complaints from Republicans in the senate.

“This is, quite frankly, with all due respect to the sponsor, an embarrassing waste of the senate’s time,” said Dale Righter. “This is being pushed by a far-leftist organisation from the city of Chicago that wants to be able to get up and chirp about the president of the United States."

Ilinois is not the only state where legislation to codify standard practices surrounding tax disclosures for presidential candidates is being advanced.

The Washington state senate last month approved legislation that would legally require all presidential candidates to release the last five years of their personal tax returns in order to have their names featured on both primary and general voting ballots.

New Jersey has also advanced a similar bill to the state’s general assembly that would force candidates to disclose their recent tax returns.

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