The New Jersey State Senate passed a bill today that requires presidential and vice presidential candidates to release five years of federal income tax returns in order to be on the ballot.
Under the proposed legislation, President Donald Trump would need to send his tax returns to the New Jersey Secretary of State in order to be on the ballot in the next presidential election.
“Every voter deserves to know if President Trump is in violation of the emoluments clause,” said State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence). “Prior to 2016, every presidential candidate in recent history has disclosed their tax returns, that’s because it is crucial to making an informed decision in the voting booth.”
The bill passed the Senate 23-11 and now heads to the State Assembly.
“Voters deserve to know that every candidate on the ballot is without compromise. They must know, unequivocally, that the person they vote for is invulnerable to blackmail, coercion or intimidation of any kind due to financial liabilities,” said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck).
Weinberg says voters have a right to know if action taken by the president “is motivated by personal financial gain, as opposed to the good of the republic.”
This transparency is common sense, which is why it has been the norm for so many decades. It’s clear now, however, it’s time to make this norm a law, at least in New Jersey,” said Weinberg.
The Senate voted to table an amendment proposed by State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville) to force gubernatorial and legislative candidates to release their tax returns in order to get on the ballot.
“It shows hypocrisy,” Pennacchio said. “If the governor signs it, it feeds into the hypocrisy.”
Gov. Phil Murphy released only top-line numbers of his tax returns during his candidate in 2017.
The proposed law would also prohibit members of the Electoral College from New Jersey from casting votes for any candidate who did not release their tax returns.