ST. PAUL, Minn — House Democrats in St. Paul are seeking to ensure one aspect of the 2016 presidential election never happens again.
House File 931 would modify the requirements for presidential candidates to become certified candidates in Minnesota. The bill would require candidates to disclose their income taxes.
The bill aptly named the Tax Return Uniformity Made Public Act or T.R.U.M.P. Act, is a response to the scrutiny faced by President Donald Trump during his campaign from liberals who demanded to see his tax returns.
Introduced by freshman Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis), the State Party Chair would have to submit a complete copy of the candidate’s federal income tax returns dating five years back. The law would also require any state income tax returns during that five-year period. The Party chair would have to submit the returns simultaneously with the candidate.
The Secretary of State would be barred from accepting a candidate’s name if all requirements are not met by the candidate and State Party Chair.
Tax returns submitted to the Secretary of State would be classified as public information and would be required to be published on the Secretary of State’s website once the proper redactions of private information were made.
Income taxes at the State and Local level have long been held as private data. According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue website, “Returns and return information are private. This means you may see the information we have about your tax returns, but in general, we may not show it to anyone else.”
Currently, a presidential candidate is not required to publish his/her income taxes in order to run for office. However, candidates have traditionally released several years worth of income tax returns.
Current federal law makes it illegal to publish tax returns without authorization. Republicans in Washington, D.C. have chosen to uphold this law. The AP reports the GOP blocked similar legislation at the Capitol by House Democrats to force the IRS to divulge Trump’s taxes.
Omar’s office did not respond to our request for comment.