State senator pushing bill to require tax returns for N.Y.'s electoral votes

"Donald Trump repeatedly refused to release copies of his federal income taxes ... denying voters this crucial information," New York Sen. Brad Hoylman said.
By Doug G. Ware  |  Dec. 6, 2016 at 6:13 PM
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ALBANY, N.Y., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- If Donald Trump would have won his home state of New York in last month's election, he would've collected 29 electoral votes in the hotly-contested presidential race -- even though he never kept his promise to release his tax returns.

Now, a state senator wants to make that a requirement for all future candidates -- if they want New York's hefty number of electoral votes.

Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman plans to introduce the Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act, or the TRUMP Act, when New York's legislature assembles next year. The bill would require all candidates to submit five years' worth of federal taxes with the state Board of Elections within the last six weeks before the election.

"For over four decades, tax returns have given voters an important window into the financial holdings and potential conflicts-of-interest of presidential candidates," Hoylman said in a statement. "Sadly, President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly refused to release copies of his federal income taxes prior to the election, denying voters this crucial information. This isn't normal."

Trump promised for many months to release his returns before the election, but he never did -- drawing sharp criticism from Democrats and even many Republicans on the campaign trail.

If Hoylman's bill would have been law this year, it wouldn't have made a difference in the race. Hillary Clinton, who released her tax returns last year, won New York's 29 electoral votes with 58 percent of the vote, compared to 37 percent for Trump.

However, the law could affect Trump's reelection in 2020.

"I think this is model legislation for legislatures across the country," Hoylman told BuzzFeed News. "Voters were denied an important perspective on the candidate's potential conflicts of interests as well as their financial well-being and how much he gave to charity."

Candidates for federal office are required to file financial disclosure reports with the Federal Election Commission, but they are not required to disclose their tax returns. Presidential candidates in the past, however, have always released them for public scrutiny as a means of ensuring trust with voters. Trump broke with that tradition, but his voters didn't seem to mind.

Democrats hold a slight majority in New York's legislature, which may be enough to get Hoylman's bill passed early next year.

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