Ron Wyden, the Democratic Senator from Oregon, brought to the floor today the Presidential Tax Transparency Act.
The legislation would codify into law disclosure of a minimum of three years of tax returns by candidates running for the presidency as the nominees of the two respective major parties.
The act amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971(2 U.S.C. § 431).
If a candidate does not comply with the requirement in a timely fashion, the Secretary of the Treasury would have the power to disclose the candidate’s returns to the public.
Wyden, who is the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, noted that those nominated by Presidents to positions in the Executive Department are already required to submit three years of their tax returns as part of the hiring process.
Likening the presidential election process to a job interview with the American people, Wyden asked why a potential president should not be held to the same standards as the employees who would work underneath them.
Ron Wyden did not refer to Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump in his speech on the Senate floor, but it is clear this bill has been brought in response to the businessman’s refusal to release his tax returns to the public. Trump, who is under audit by the IRS, has said it would be unwise to comply with the longstanding disclosure norm.