The newly-empowered House Democrats announced a new bill on Friday that, if passed into law, would make changes to ethics and campaign finance laws. It would also force President Donald Trump to finally reveal his tax returns.
Currently, there is no requirement for the president to release his or her tax returns to the public. It had been tradition for presidential candidates to release them before the general election, but Trump broke with tradition. He claimed he was under audit, so it would be unwise to release his personal tax information.
The new bill, known as the “For the People Act of 2019,” would require both the president and the vice president to release their past 10 years’ worth of tax returns for public viewing. The bill says:
Not later than the date that is 30 days after the date of enactment of this section, an individual who is the President or Vice President on such date of enactment shall submit to the Federal Election Commission a copy of the income tax returns for the 10 most recent taxable years for which a return has been filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
For future candidates, the bill says they must release their tax returns for the previous ten years “[n]ot later than the date that is 15 days after the date on which an individual becomes a covered candidate.”
Among the other measures included in the bill are greater powers for the Office of Government Ethics, a new ethics code for the Supreme Court, and stronger ethics requirements for White House employees.
“The midterm elections were monumental and indeed historic. The American people gave Congress a mandate: to finally start conducting credible oversight and start enacting reforms. Over the last two years, President Trump set the tone from the top in his administration that behaving ethically and complying with the law is optional,” new House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) said.
The bill also aims to make reforms for voting (dealing with issues including voter registration and election security) and campaign finance.
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