I Like This Idea

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

There's no chance in hell our congressional Republican overlords will ever mandate this level of financial disclosure, but lawmakers in states still controlled by Democrats can take matters into their own hands.

Democrats in several states have introduced legislation to restrict ballot access for candidates who don't release their tax returns.

A pair of Maryland Democrats on Tuesday announced they would introduce a bill mandating the release of five years of tax returns, mirroring similar proposals in New York, Massachusetts, California and Maine.

If approved, the proposals could keep Trump from appearing on some ballots in 2020 if he continues breaking with the decades-long tradition of financial transparency and decides to seek a second term.

Congress will never vote for a similar bill and despot-elect Trump obviously wouldn't sign it even if they did, but state lawmakers have a legitimate chance to succeed where Congress fails us.

With that said, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Congress responds by passing legislation prohibiting states from requiring full financial disclosure.

As you know, arguments in favor of "states' rights" only apply to black Democratic presidents.

  • Badgerite

    Long overdue. if the GOP tries to scotch that, let them. And then let them explain it to the public. What are they afraid of exactly? Other than the truth.

    • Christopher Foxx

      They’ll oppose it and spin it as they always do when they oppose something that would benefit Americans: They they’re standing up for the Constitution and to protect Americans.

      Sure it’ll be a bald-faced lie. But what do the Republicans ever say that isn’t?

  • Aynwrong

    Why did no one have the foresight to do this years ago? I know, I know… Because no one could have conceived something as ridiculous & disgusting as Trump or even a Republican electorate dumb, rump stupid enough to do this to our country.

    Hopefully the Republic will survive long enough for measures like this to protect us in the future.

    • Scopedog

      Because the media was only interested in emails.

  • muselet

    In the run-up to the 2012 election, red states were busilly pushing legislation to require presidential candidates to present their birth certificates—real birth certificates, not copies (those official seals might be faked or something!)) or obviously ‘shopped fakes—in order to be on the ballot. It was transparently an attempt to disqualify, preferably retroactively, one specific individual (*cough* the black guy *cough*), and the states backed down in the face of much pointing and laughing.

    The same fate awaits these proposals, for much the same reason.

    Ds should concentrate on substantive responses to the superstorm of horribleness to come, not grandstanding nonsense like this.*


    * Just to be clear, I think presidential candidates should be required to file more complete financial disclosure than merely tax returns, and that all that information should be freely available to the public. The premise of these bills is entirely reasonable, but they are doomed to fail and are therefore wastes of time and effort.

    • ninjaf

      It will only take one state to get it accomplished. Modern media is such that the information will be shared everywhere.

      • muselet

        A quick skim through the relevant Wikipedia page leads me to believe none of those keep-the-black-guy-out-of-the-White-House bills ever became law, but I might have missed one.

        Again, I agree with the underlying premise of the legislation. However, any law would immediately be challenged in federal court and—I am not a lawyer and I don’t play one on TV, so take this with as many grains of salt as you need—would probably be unceremoniously tossed because the constitution, not legislation, determines eligibility to be President.

        And our glorious news media, offered tax returns of R presidential candidates, would flee screaming rather than be accused of being liberal.


    • Christopher Foxx

      I agree. I suspect a case could be made that the only requirements to run for President are those two listed in the Constitution (over 35, natural born citizen) and trying to add additional ones like filing financial disclosures runs counter to that.

      That said, for years one of the “when I get to be God” daydreams I have is that anyone running for Congress or the Presidency would be required to freeze their net worth from the moment they declare their candidacy until the time they dropout/lose/leave office.