Hawaii House and Senate Become First in Nation to Pass Bills Requiring Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns

PRESS CONFERENCE: On passage of bills requiring presidential candidates to release

  • WHO:  REP. CHRIS LEE, SEN. KARL RHOADS WITH COMMON CAUSE AND THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
  • WHAT:  Press conference to discuss HB1581 HD1 and SB150 SD1 requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the Hawaii ballot
  • WHEN:  Wednesday, March 8 10 a.m.
  • WHERE:  At the Eternal Flame Memorial across Beretania Street from the Hawaii State Capitol

State Representative Chris Lee and State Senator Karl Rhoads join Common Cause the League of Women Voters, and other stakeholders to announce the passage of HB1581 out of the House and SB150 out of the Senate. Both bills require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the ballot or secure the vote of Hawaii electors.

“The president and vice president are the only federal offices exempt from conflict of interest laws, so the only way to be sure the president is making decisions in the nation’s interest rather than his own businesses is to transparently disclose his financial interests,” said Rep. Lee.

“For decades presidential candidates have publically released their tax returns.  The information is valuable to voters when they decide who to vote for President and Vice President.  That’s why I introduced the Senate bill.” said Sen. Rhoads.

Examples of potential conflicts of interest have already been widely reported in the media, such as President Trump’s partial investment in the parent companies of the firm building the Dakota Access pipeline, a situation in which the president intervened upon taking office. However, other conflicts that could compromise decision-making may not be as apparent unless additional information from the president’s tax returns is made public.

According to President Trump’s financial disclosure, he has investments in or owns companies in at least 20 different countries. Unlike his domestic business, President Trump could run afoul of the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution by continuing to profit off these deals. In addition to emoluments, the president’s foreign policy decisions could be called into question in any country in which the Trump Organization does business, for example by exempting countries with Trump Organization presence from a travel ban executive order.

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