Lawmakers in nearly half the states want to add a requirement for presidential candidates: Show us your tax returns. The issue has dogged President Donald Trump, who became the first presidential candidate in modern times to refuse to make his returns public. It flared anew this week after MSNBC said it had obtained two pages of Trump’s 2005 federal return, prompting the administration to release the documents preemptively. State lawmakers around the country, mostly Democrats, want to ensure transparency in future presidential campaigns so voters can evaluate candidates’ sources of income and any possible conflicts of interest. Most of the bills would require presidential contenders to release copies of their returns as a condition for appearing on that state’s ballot, although it’s unclear whether they could pass constitutional muster. The aim is to find out about potential conflicts that candidates might have before they take office, said Hawaii Rep. Chris Lee, a Democrat who introduced one of the Hawaii bills.
State legislators across the country are debating new measures that would require candidates running for president to publicly disclose their tax returns to qualify for the ballot. The measures are aimed at President Trump, who became the first White House candidate in recent times refuse to release his tax documents to the public. Democrats, incensed by Trump’s false claims of being prevented from releasing the documents because of an IRS audit, see the legislation on the state level as a way to force the president’s hand when he seeks reelection in 2020. “Tax return information would provide some transparency there to give voters the assurance that they need that the president is acting on behalf of us,” said Kathleen Clyde, an Ohio state representative who recently introduced a version of the bill. “It is problematic that he is the only candidate in 30 or 40 years not to provide that information.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, on Wednesday introduced a bill that would require President-elect Donald Trump to release his tax returns. The measure comes as Democrats are pushing to increase the financial transparency of Trump and his wealthy Cabinet picks. But it is unlikely to be enacted with Trump taking office later this month and Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress. Wyden’s bill would require sitting presidents to provide their three most recent years of tax returns to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE). It would also mandate that major-party presidential nominees release their returns to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) within 15 days of accepting the nomination at party conventions. Under the bill, if presidents and nominees don’t release their tax returns, the Treasury secretary would provide them directly to OGE and FEC. The agencies would then make the returns public.
National: Blue-state lawmakers want to keep Trump off 2020 ballot unless he releases tax returns | The Washington Post
Lawmakers in several deep-blue states want to require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the ballot in those states, a sharp rebuke of President-elect Donald Trump’s ongoing refusal to make his tax records public. A pair of Maryland Democrats on Tuesday announced they would introduce a bill mandating the release of five years of tax returns, mirroring similar proposals in New York, Massachusetts, California and Maine. If approved, the proposals could keep Trump from appearing on some ballots in 2020 if he continues breaking with the decades-long tradition of financial transparency and decides to seek a second term. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in May introduced a federal bill requiring major-party candidates to release their returns, but that legislation didn’t advance in the Republican-controlled Congress.
Hassan Ayariga, the twice disqualified presidential candidate of Ghana’s opposition All People’s Congress, is calling on the chairperson of the country’s electoral commission to step down with immediate effect, before next month’s general elections. If chairperson Charlotte Osei does not resign, Ayariga said Ghana’s presidential, legislative and local elections on December 7 will no longer be seen as transparent and credible. Civil society groups in Ghana and other members of the electoral commission dismissed Ayariga’s demands and defended Osei as someone who has implemented electoral laws without favoring any side. The APC leader noted that Osei, who has held her position for less than a year, has faced legal challenges more than 15 times, with every one of her decisions being overturned in court.
Ghana’s electoral commission has qualified seven presidential candidates for the national election on December 7. The successful candidates — six representing political parties and one independent — took part in a drawing late Wednesday in the capital, Accra, to determine their positions on the ballot. They will be listed by party affiliation in this order on voters’ ballots: Convention People’s Party (CPP), National Democratic Party (NDP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), New Patriotic Party (NPP), People’s National Convention (PNC) and independent (non-party) candidate Jacob Osei Yeboah. The electoral commission earlier had disqualified several candidates for failing to comply with all registration requirements for the election, but those rulings were challenged in court by the PPP and NDP, among others. A court ruling ordered the commission to allow disqualified candidates time to correct errors in their nomination documents.
The people of Ivory Coast are going to the polls on Sunday to approve or reject a draft constitution which the government says will address the question of identity which has been at the heart of years of unrest. The draft constitution was adopted earlier this month by the National Assembly but opposition parties have called for a boycott, as they say the country already has one of the best constitutions in Africa. They also accuse President Alassane Ouattara of using it as a way of trying to nominate his successor. The most important change is contained in an article that removes the age limit of 75 and scraps the requirement that both parents of presidential candidates must be native-born Ivorians.
Seven out of 10 Members of Parliament are opposed to the lifting of the Presidential age limit from the Constitution, according to a new study. This is entailed in a new survey released by the Citizen’s Coalition for Electoral Democracy on Uganda (CCEDU) on Parliamentary Attitudes to lifting Presidential age limit conducted between September 16 and October 7, where 185 were interviewed. The MPs in the report also supported the restructuring of the Independent Electoral Commission (EC), arguing that this will guarantee the public free and fair elections in future.
Hot on the heels of the Zambian election, an anxiously awaited election is looming in Gabon where President Ali Bongo Ondimba and his motley opponents are rounding off campaigns. Ahead of next Saturday’s election, tension is high with increased police presence in capital Libreville. Fourteen candidates have been approved by the electoral commission. Bongo’s main challenger is former African Union Commission chief Jean Ping who was selected by opposition barons. Bongo is seeking a second seven-year term even as the Opposition challenges his eligibility.
Gabon’s National Electoral Commission, CENAP, has validated the candidature of president Ali Bongo Ondimba and 13 others vying for the presidency. “Out of the 13 candidates, there was that of Ali Bongo. There was consensus on the other 13 candidates except that of Ali Bongo. The plenary assembly usually takes decisions based on consensus and when there is no consensus, the vote of the bureau decides. A vote took place in accordance with the law of the electoral commission. Therefore, only electoral commission decided, concerning Ali Bongo’s candidature 5 votes against 3 for the opposition.” The decision has however been strongly criticised by opposition representatives at the electoral commission who are raising voices that Ali Bongo has changed his birth certificate.