Briggs introduces bill requiring presidential candidates to publically disclose tax returns

HARRISBURG, Jan. 26 – State Rep. Tim Briggs on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require U.S. presidential candidates to make their tax returns public in order to be eligible to appear on the Pennsylvania ballot.

House Bill 222 seeks to make transparent a presidential candidate’s financial interests before being elected to the highest office in the nation.

“The need for this tradition is clear,” Briggs said. “Many Americans, not to mention the national security community, want to know whether presidential candidates have personal or business interests that could undermine their commitment to act in the best interests of the United States should they become president.

“More importantly, all Americans, whether they supported the president's election or not, must know whether there are any financial interests that may affect his or her decision making while serving.”

Briggs’ introduction of the bill follows President Donald Trump’s recent reversal on his pledge to release his tax returns following what he described while campaigning as a routine audit.

“President Trump’s refusal to release a most basic, yet vital, piece of information could be categorized as a text-book 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.”

The bill is expected to be referred to the House State Government Committee.