State Senate votes to require anybody running for president, VP to release tax returns

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By Jerry Nowicki
Capitol News Illinois
Jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com
Updated 4/11/2019 6:56 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois is one step closer to requiring presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their tax returns if they want to appear on the state's ballots -- if such a measure is even constitutional.

State Sen. Tony Munoz's Senate Bill 145 passed the Senate by a 36-19 vote Thursday. It would require the release of tax returns for those running for the nation's executive branch, but not for Congress or any statewide elected officials.

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"Why aren't any of those people in this?" asked state Sen. Dale Righter, a Mattoon Republican.

Munoz, a Chicago Democrat, said he is open to expanding the elected officials included in the bill upon negotiation in the House.

Righter called the bill "an embarrassing waste of the Senate's time," citing two U.S. Supreme Court cases that say the U.S. Constitution lays out ballot qualifications and states cannot make them more strict.

Munoz said the bill does not add qualifications but simply requires the release of another document.

"They're doing this in 25 states whether you agree with it or not," Munoz said, adding, "If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't worry about anything."

President Donald Trump has refused to make his tax returns public, bucking decades of precedent.

The bill would require the release of five years of tax returns to the Illinois secretary of state, whose office would redact sensitive information.

The measure now moves to the House.

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