During the 2016 elections, a point of contention between President-elect Donald Trump and many other groups was his refusal to release his tax returns. Trump stated that the reason was because he was currently under audit, which caused a myriad of conspiracy theories to pop up, from him having ties to the Russians, to him having ties with the mafia. It should also be noted that many didn't buy Trump's excuse of being audited, as President Richard Nixon released his tax returns while under audit in 1973.
But with Trump's tax returns still in the dark, Democrats from blue states such as New York, Massachusetts, California and Maine have announced that they will write legislation that will force candidates to have released five years worth of tax returns if they want to qualify for ballot access. This legislation, if passed, will prevent Trump from appearing these state ballots in next year's election.
From the Washington Post:
“We all expected anyone who is going to be in front of the public and lead our nation would be transparent,” said Maryland Sen. Paul G. Pinsky, who plans to sponsor the legislation with Del. Jimmy Tarlau, a fellow Prince George's County Democrat. “He chose not to be, and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen again in the future from any candidate.”
Of course, the proposed legislation is already receiving pushback.
“To me, it just looks like sour grapes over the election,” said Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings (R-Baltimore County). “We don’t reveal our tax returns as legislators. Why are you doing it for the president and not every other office too?”
Indeed, ballot requirements that present an obstacle for those who haven't released tax returns is highly unusual, and the idea that this is somehow being done in the interest of fairness seems suspect. Especially when New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman said he would call the bill the Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public act, or "TRUMP act."