New Jersey lawmakers have revived a bill that would remove President Trump’s name from the 2020 ballot unless he discloses his federal tax returns.
The legislation also “prohibits Electoral College electors from voting for candidates who fail to file income tax returns,” the Daily Wire reported.
The disclosure of tax returns by presidential candidates is not required but it’s become tradition. Trump has argued he was advised by his lawyers not to release his returns because he is under audit by the IRS.
A similar New Jersey bill was vetoed in 2017 by then-Gov. Chris Christie, who called it a “transparent political stunt masquerading as a bill.”
NJ.com reported Christie recommended the state’s Open Public Record Act be expanded instead, but Democrats rejected the idea.
This time, however, as the Daily Wire notes, Democrats have control of the Legislature and the governorship.
In Washington, with Democrats now the majority in the House, Trump is under increasing pressure to disclose his returns.
In November, Trump told reporters that if he were still under audit, he would block any Democrat requests.
He said, however, he would consider a disclosure once the audit is complete.
“They’re under audit. They have been for a long time,” Trump said of his returns. “If I were finished with the audit, I would have an open mind to it. When that happens, if that happens, I would certainly have an open mind to it.”
The Hill reported last month that House Democrats are trying to obtain Trump’s tax returns through the Treasury Department.
Under the federal tax code, the Hill explained, “the chairmen of Congress’s tax committees can request tax returns from Treasury and review them in a closed session. The committees could then vote to release a report to the full House or Senate, making some or all of the returns public.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he planned to receive a briefing from Congress’s nonpartisan tax scorekeepers on the process, the Hill reported.
“Don’t interpret this as looking into it, but I’m going to have a briefing by Joint Tax on what all this involves before I answer any questions,” Grassley told reporters Jan. 9, referencing the Joint Committee on Taxation.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told The New York Times that if any requests are made, he would work with the department’s general counsel and the general counsel for the IRS.
The matter could end up in court if the Trump administration does not comply with Democrats’ requests.