STATE LEGISLATION FOR TAX TRANSPARENCY FORM LETTER

Below is a letter for your state representatives urging them to support legislation requiring that presidential candidates must release their tax returns in order to appear on the state ballot.


I am writing to ask that you introduce legislation requiring that presidential candidates release their tax returns to the public for eligibility to appear on the state election ballot. While it is customary for presidential candidates to voluntarily release their tax returns, this custom has never been codified into law. We now have a president with extensive domestic and international business holdings which present an unprecedented level of potential conflicts of interest and corruption. Congress appears to be unwilling or unable to fulfill their role of checking the executive branch. This presents an opportunity for you to take a leadership role. Tax transparency as a ballot eligibility requirement is within the power of the state government and sends a clear message to your constituents that you prioritize transparency in government.

Donald Trump is now a public servant, and the public has the right to know whether he is using his executive authority to line his family's pockets. According to FEC filings, the Trump campaign disbursed nearly $12 million to Trump companies representing 3.6% of total campaign disbursements. For comparison purposes, the Trump campaign received $87.6 million in small dollar unitemized individual donations, $36 million from retirees, and $18.4 million from self employed individuals. It is a sad coincidence that the donations received from unemployed or disabled individuals is almost exactly equal to the money paid by the campaign to Eric Trump's wine company (about $32 thousand). 

President Trump has failed to take the bare minimum steps to ensure that there is no conflict of interest with his office and his businesses. This makes any sort of trust between the president and the public all but impossible. We can no longer rely on the custom of presidential candidates voluntarily releasing tax returns.  Customs and norms may simply be ignored by those who wish to hide their conflicts of interest from the public. We must implement legal mechanisms to ensure presidential candidates are transparent about their potential conflicts of interest. I ask that you take the lead.