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New bill would require candidates to release taxes before getting electoral votes from one large state

Protestors march in a downtown street holding a sign in support of Republican President-elect Donald Trump releasing his tax returns. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman already has a plan in place to make President-elect Donald Trump transparent again.

The Democrat, who represents part of Manhattan, introduced legislation this week to require presidential and vice presidential candidates to release tax returns in order to be on New York's ballot.

The Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act — or T.R.U.M.P. Act — would require candidates disclose at least five years' worth of federal income tax returns.

"The practice of releasing tax returns has been standard practice for the simple reason that American presidential candidates should be held to a higher standard of transparency," Hoylman said in a statement. "When long standing democratic norms are threatened, it becomes necessary to codify them into law."

President-elect Trump notoriously did not release his tax returns while he campaigned for president, citing an IRS audit.

During his campaign, it was revealed that he might not have donated as much money to charitable organizations as he claimed. And some reports have found that he may have avoided paying federal income taxes for nearly 20 years — prompting calls for greater transparency from the Republican businessman.

But still, he has not released his tax returns.

"This isn't normal," Hoylman said. "Voters deserve to know that personal priorities will never take precedence over the national interest."

"In response, New York should take corrective action and make provision of tax returns a qualification to appear on the ballot for President of the United States," he continued.

The T.R.U.M.P. Act would require candidates to submit the five years' worth of federal income taxes to the Board of Elections at least 50 days before the general election. The BOE would then have 10 days to redact any personal information and make the returns available on its website.

Had Hoylman's legislation been in place before the 2016 general election, it likely wouldn't have made much of a difference.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton handily won the state she once represented in the U.S. Senate with more than 58 percent of the vote.

She also won Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and part of Long Island.

[graphiq id="7227HY7IuR7" title="New York 2016 Presidential Election Results" width="600" height="514" url="https://w.graphiq.com/w/7227HY7IuR7" ]

New York Republican strategist John Burnett compared the legislation to Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein's vote recount efforts and labeled them both as "bogus" and "another attempt by the left to try to stir up controversy."

"It's just an empty attempt for him to make some noise. It's not going to go anywhere in the New York legislative chamber," Burnett told TheBlaze. "It's really a moot point at this late stage in the game."

He added that it's no secret that Hoylman has a "history of disdain" for Trump and accused the legislator's efforts as being "an empty grandstand that has no merit."

"You don't craft legislation for one person or use legislation as a retaliatory attempt for being disgruntled with the outcome" of the election, Burnett said.

And as evidenced by the more than 62 million people who voted for him, Burnett argued that Trump's taxes aren't of top priority for Americans.

Hoylman did not respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze.

 

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