Presidential Tax Transparency Bill Clears Judiciary Committee

Strong support from Constitutional Attorneys Paves Way for California to Pass Legislation

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sacramento, CA – With a strong showing of support in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Mike McGuire and Scott Wiener’s Presidential Tax Transparency & Accountability Act that would share basic tax information with the American public and require that all presidential candidates release the last 5 years of their tax returns in order to appear on the California ballot, was approved today.

“Transparency is a nonpartisan issue. And it’s transparency that provides the basis for accountability in Government,” said Senator Mike McGuire. “For the past forty years, every US President – Republicans and Democrats alike – have released their tax returns. These patriots put the nation’s interests above everything else. Presidents are expected to put their own interests aside – whether it be business ties or relationships with a foreign government – for the greater good of our country. And that greater good is America’s security and the protection of its people.”


Senators McGuire and Wiener have been working with some of the preeminent constitutional attorneys in the nation, including Harvard Professor Larry Tribe, Richard Painter, retired Chief Ethics lawyer for President George W Bush, and Ambassador (ret.) Norman L. Eisen from The Brookings Institution, who submitted definitive statements to the CA Senate Judiciary Committee that the federal constitution allows states to create ballot access requirements, like SB 149, that ensure the ballots for every office, including the office of the President, are comprehensible and informative. Their statement concluded that, “We have studied these state laws carefully and have concluded that they are constitutional. Our federal constitution allows states to create ballot access requirements that ensure the ballots for every office, including the office of presidential elector, are comprehensible and informative.”


“Anyone aspiring to be President of our nation should be willing to release their tax returns – unless they have something to hide,” said Senator Scott Wiener. “The almost daily revelations regarding the connections between the Trump administration and Russia are a perfect example of why we need basic financial disclosures before elections take place. This is about establishing trust so that the American public knows that they come first when the White House makes a decision, not second to some business or investment interest.​”

Approval in the Senate Judiciary Committee today means SB 149 will head to the Senate Elections Committee before going to the full Senate for approval.


SB 149 will require a candidate for President, in order to have his or her name placed upon the primary election ballot, to file his or her income tax returns for the 5 most recent taxable years with the Secretary of State. The returns would also be made available to the public on the Secretary of State’s website.


Prior to Donald Trump’s refusal to release any tax returns, every president since Jimmy Carter (over 40 years) have released at least one year of tax returns. During the 2016 Presidential election, Hillary Clinton (Democratic) and Jill Stein (Green) both released their tax returns.


Contrary to what President-Elect Trump has stated in public, that Americans don’t care about his tax returns, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 74 percent of respondents believe President-Elect Trump should release his tax returns. This poll shows consistent results from an earlier poll conducted by Quinnipiac University back in August of 2016.


For clips of Senator McGuire discussing SB 149, go to: