Briggs renews call to require presidential and gubernatorial candidates to publicly disclose tax returns

HARRISBURG, April 12 – With Tax Day approaching, state Rep. Tim Briggs renewed a call to require financial transparency on the part of presidential and gubernatorial candidates.

“Many Americans are preparing to file their returns by Monday, and it’s a reminder that we still don’t have basic, vital information on the financial interests of the person currently holding the highest office in our country – the president,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “The 2020 presidential election is already starting, and Americans deserve to know whether there are any financial interests that may influence a candidate’s decision-making while serving.”

Briggs introduced legislation that would require U.S. presidential and commonwealth gubernatorial candidates to make their tax returns public in order to be eligible to appear on the Pennsylvania ballot. His bill seeks to make a gubernatorial or presidential candidate’s financial interests transparent before they are elected to the highest office in the state or nation, respectively.

“The need for this disclosure is clear,” Briggs said. “Many Americans, not to mention the national security community, want to know whether candidates for the highest offices in their state and country have personal or business interests that could undermine their commitment to act in their constituents’ best interests should they be elected.”

Briggs’ introduction of the bill follows President Donald Trump’s and 2018 Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Scott Wagner’s refusal to release their tax returns.

“President Trump’s refusal to release this information could be categorized as a textbook bait and switch,” Briggs said. “One or more states’ refusal to place a candidate on the ballot, on the other hand, could easily prevent something like this from ever happening again. All public officials owe transparency and honesty to their constituents, and that is the intent behind my bill.”

Briggs said he introduced this legislation last session, and the Republican majority failed to bring it up for consideration.

Briggs’ legislation is part of the House Democrats’ Your Vote Counts package, which consists of bills to increase voter turnout, make it easier for people to register to vote and to cast a ballot, and restore peoples’ faith in their elections.