Bill that would require presidential candidates to release tax returns passes in Illinois Senate


Daily file photo by Daniel Tian

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) talks with constituents after a town hall meeting in 2015. A bill Biss introduced that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns to appear on the ballot passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday.

Kristina Karisch, Assistant City Editor

A bill that would bar future presidential candidates from appearing on the ballot in Illinois if they do not release their tax returns passed in the state Senate on Thursday.

The bill, introduced in February by state Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), would require the release of five years of tax returns from presidential and vice presidential candidates to make them eligible to appear on the Illinois ballot in 2020. Candidates would need to file copies of their returns with the IRS before certification of the general election ballot.

The bill was introduced after President Donald Trump declined to release his tax returns during the campaign and once he took office. Every president since Jimmy Carter has volunteered his tax returns, though there is no law requiring presidents to do so.

“I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican — easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again?” the president tweeted earlier this month.

Biss, who is running for governor, said in a February statement that Trump “deprived voters of the opportunity” to check his business record by not releasing his tax returns. The local politician recently released his own personal tax returns and has criticized his gubernatorial opponents for not doing the same.

“Today the Senate took an important step toward requiring all presidential candidates to come clean with Illinois citizens before asking for their vote,” Biss said in a news release. “Whether you’re running for president or governor, full disclosure of your taxes should be a no-brainer.”

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