President Donald Trump’s refusal to publicly release his tax returns is fueling initiatives in Massachusetts and other states that would require presidential candidates to disclose their personal finances before they could appear on the ballot. Massachusetts lawmakers are set to hold a hearing Wednesday at the Statehouse on a bill that would impose those conditions. The chief sponsor, state Sen. Mike Barrett, said that until the election of Trump, most Americans just assumed candidates for president would adhere to “modern practices of disclosure and transparency” — even those that are unwritten. “One of them is the disclosure by candidates of personal financial information related to possible conflicts of interest,” the Lexington Democrat said. “The 2016 election shattered our confidence in the broad acceptance by presidential candidates of certain rules of public conduct.”
The bill would require any candidates for president who want their name on the Massachusetts primary ballot to turn over a certified copy of their federal income tax returns for the three most recent years.
The bill would then require the state secretary to publish the returns on the state’s website. Candidates who refuse would be barred from the primary ballot.
Barrett said the bill is being championed by March Forward Mass, a group formed in the wake of the Boston Women’s March following Trump’s election.