If President Trump, or anyone else, wants to get on the New Jersey ballot to run for president in 2020, he could have to release his tax returns, if some Democratic lawmakers have their way. Whether legislators have that power was an open question Monday, as the Assembly Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that would require candidates for president and vice president to disclose their federal income tax returns in order to appear on the state’s ballot. “Anybody who tells you they know whether it’s constitutional or not is not correct,” Rick Hasen, an election law expert and professor at the University of California, Irvine, said of a state’s ability to require tax-return disclosure to get on the ballot. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman John McKeon (D., Morris), acknowledged that the proposal raised constitutional questions, but argued that such laws would likely be upheld “prior to the election four years from now.”
New Jersey is the latest state to propose a requirement that presidential candidates release their tax returns, after Trump broke 40 years of precedent by not doing so.
As of Saturday, lawmakers in 17 states had introduced bills that would require presidential candidates to release federal tax returns to get their names on state ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
While disclosing returns had not been an issue in the past, “we shouldn’t downplay the Trump effect” in motivating state legislation, said Vikram Amar, dean of the University of Illinois College of Law. “If another candidate other than Donald Trump had not turned over his tax returns, maybe this issue wouldn’t have this much traction,” Amar said, noting Trump’s wealth and business holdings.
Full Article: N.J. Dems want to push future presidents to do what Trump wouldn’t: Release tax returns.