The lack of transparency displayed by President Elect Donald Trump including his refusal to release his Federal Income Tax Returns is unprecedented in modern Presidential history. His failure to uphold his promise to disclose his Federal Income Tax Returns has left the American people blind to conflicts of interest our President Elect may have.
The financial disclosure requirements for Presidential Candidates is inadequate. Last week it was reported that President Elect Donald Trump under reported his debt obligations by almost $1 billion. The Wall Street Journal reported this could represent severe conflict of interest issues for PE Trump.
What PE Trump did by not disclosing his income tax returns is not against any state or federal law and there are no consequences to him. Trump shows no sign of releasing his tax returns anytime soon. Trump has promised to disclose how he will address his conflict of interest situation – later. With less than two weeks to Inauguration, little time is left to review any scheme Trump and his lawyers are developing.
This situation is unacceptable. In an effort to force Trump to provide the information the American public should be entitled to, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has introduced the Presidential Conflict of Interest Act of 2017. Twenty-three US Senators have signed on as sponsors of the bill. Given the political climate, the chances of passage are zero.
There may be lawsuits in the future that attempt to force Trump to disclose and divest business assets and debts that represent conflicts of interest. The lawsuits will be great political theater but any success will be slow in coming, if at all.
We need to protect the United States going forward and can not wait to see if these lawsuits will be successful. Something must be done to protect Americans in the 2020 Presidential Elections and beyond.
State governments have the power to remedy this situation quickly. Each state has requirements that must be met before a Presidential Candidate can be placed on individual state ballots. If states required the disclosure of Federal Income Tax Returns BEFORE a Presidential Candidate could be placed on a ballot, the transparency problem would be solved going forward.
I ask that you join me in asking President Barak Obama and Senators that are sponsoring the Presidential Conflict of Interest Act of 2017 to help get this simple requirement passed by as many states as possible before the 2020 Presidential Election season begins. Implementing this requirement in just a few states would be all that is needed. The U.S. Senators who are currently sponsoring the Act listed are:
Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Making your request can be done quickly. If you’re on Twitter, tweet them the link to this post. You may also email them a link at their respective offices.