News

Eshoo introduces bill requiring presidents, candidates to release tax returns

Bill requires Secretary of the Treasury to release copies if the candidate/president refuses

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, introduced a bill in Congress on Thursday that would require presidents and presidential candidates to publicly release their tax returns.

The Presidential Tax Transparency Act would require sitting presidents and nominees for the office of major parties to disclose three prior years of federal tax returns annually. Presidential nominees would have to show their returns within 15 days of their party nomination.


Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park. (2011 photo by Veronica Weber.)
"Major parties" are defined in the tax code as parties with a candidate who received more than 25 percent of the popular vote in the previous presidential election.

The bill comes after the refusal of president-elect Donald Trump to release his tax returns prior to the election. Trump has periodically said he would make his returns available after an IRS audit is completed, but there is no law prohibiting the release of the returns while an audit is ongoing, IRS officials have said.

Trump also told ABC's Good Morning America interviewer George Stephanopolis that his tax returns are "none of your business."

Eshoo introduced similar legislation in June 2016 with the last Congress, with 39 bipartisan cosponsors.

The bill is a companion to legislation authored by Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon senator and ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. He introduced a presidential tax-return-disclosure bill in May 2016 that amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. The Senate read the bill twice and referred it to the Committee on Rules and Administration.

Wyden announced in November a plan to reintroduce the legislation in 2017.

Every president since 1976 has released tax returns prior to taking office, but the practice is not required by law, according to the Tax History Project, Eshoo's office noted in a Jan. 5 statement.

"The American people justifiably expect those who seek or hold the highest office in the land to be open and transparent about their tax returns. Tax returns contain vital information, such as: were any taxes paid; were any charitable contributions made; were tax loopholes taken advantage of; and are any assets kept offshore," Eshoo said in the statement.

"For decades, presidents and candidates have disclosed their tax returns but this bipartisan practice has never been required by law. The Presidential Tax Transparency Act writes this important disclosure tradition into law. As former presidential candidate Mitt Romney stated last year, 'Tax returns provide the public with its sole confirmation of the veracity of a candidate's representations regarding charities, priorities, wealth, tax conformance, and conflicts of interest.'"

Under the act, the returns must be filed with the Office of Government Ethics or Federal Election Commission. If a president or candidate fails to disclose his/her tax returns, the Secretary of the Treasury would be required to provide redacted copies for public review.

The text of the Presidential Tax Transparency Act can be found here.

Comments

12 people like this
Posted by SandersGirl
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 7, 2017 at 4:46 pm

Totally lame useless legislation. Why just presidents? Why not members of Congress? Lame Lame Lame


15 people like this
Posted by Birthday cake for everyone!
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jan 7, 2017 at 4:57 pm

Okay - all of them, and cabinet nominees too.

Good point sanders girl!!

Let's see which ones have taken Russian mob money.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 7, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Total waste of legislative time so Eshoo can look like she's "doing something." She's not.


4 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 8, 2017 at 7:58 am

pogo is a registered user.

Tax returns don't always provide details of your assets and liabilities...


6 people like this
Posted by Birthday cake for everyone!
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jan 8, 2017 at 11:13 am

"Total waste of legislative time" unlike the bills offered so far: the complete gutting of the ethics office, and a budget resolution from the party that supposedly champions balanced budgets but in fact proposes to double the deficit and adds ten trillion in new debt.

"so Eshoo can look like she's 'doing something.' She's not."

Alright - what would you like her to do, given the realities of our new situation?




2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 8, 2017 at 11:31 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

birthday:

how about something that might actually make a difference and might actually have a snow ball's chance in hell of passing?


10 people like this
Posted by Birthday cake for everyone!
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 8, 2017 at 11:44 am

"how about something that might actually make a difference and might actually have a snow ball's chance in hell of passing?"

Such as? Gutting ethics? Doubling the deficit? Something else? (open question - what would you like her to do?)

So you agree that candidates should release tax returns. You just are upset that a good bill will be blocked by the majority.

Got it.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

birthday:

you misstate my comment. Big surprise. I don't care whether congress critters release their tax returns or not. They haven't been required to up until now so why the push from Eshoo to do it now? Because she's grandstanding. How about she works no reforming the banking laws so we don't have another melt down like in 2008? There was much hew and cry about doing that when the economy collapsed and what happened? Nothing. She can start there. And yes, most likely, a bill of that nature would be blocked, but it would actually be something worth working on as opposed to having congress release their tax returns which does nothing. As pogo noted there are many ways to have assets that don't show up on your taxes.


2 people like this
Posted by Birthday cake for everyone!
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jan 8, 2017 at 1:06 pm

"you misstate my comment"

Perhaps, and if so - apologies. What did I misstate? "you agree that candidates should release tax returns"? You do NOT think it is a good idea to see presidential candidates' tax returns? While not a panacea, it does little harm and offers much better transparency.

But you misstate the bill Eshoo sponsored; it's the Presidential Tax Transparency Act, not the 'congress critter' Tax Transparency Act. As I read the above, that was just straw man trolling posted by 'sanders girl'.

More banking reform would be good. Alas, there will soon be less banking regulations.

G'day, sir. Stay warm and dry.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 8, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

birthday:

you did it again: ""you agree that candidates should release tax returns"?"

What I said was: "I don't care whether congress critters release their tax returns or not. They haven't been required to up until now so why the push from Eshoo to do it now? Because she's grandstanding."

Congress or the president it really doesn't matter. There are so many ways to hide money as to make releasing tax returns pointless.


8 people like this
Posted by When the whip comes down
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 8, 2017 at 6:06 pm

In the past, every candidate did it. Now we have candidates who flaunt beat practices.

Make them do it. No down side. More transparency. Sunshine.

Ask Hickey.


9 people like this
Posted by Magowan
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 9, 2017 at 7:03 am

Trump got tired into the Russian mob back in his casino days. When all casinos were booming (see the dow Jones casino averages for the period) Trump tanked his and ran away with millions while stuffing investors.

There are reports of massive money laundering - and while Trump was tagged for some of it, the bulk flew under the radar. Trump has been in bed with the russian mob since. They bailed him out on his real estate holdings as they crashed in 2008. Owned him since.

A lot of this is starting to filter through the media and bubble up. Trump's 1991 spy mag interview, etc.. NYE party with felon called Joey No Socks.

Trump is a master of distraction - quick! Over there! Look at Merrill Streep! Sad!

Tax returns are a start. No reason not to require them. All the arguments above are silly straw men.

Transparency is the only way to defend democracy. If you're interested in that. If not, nothing to to see here.

Dasvidaniya!


3 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 9, 2017 at 5:07 pm

To echo a commentary I read in another local paper today, why is eshoo bothering to submit this bill? The Republicans will never go for it. I'd rather have her work on legislation that benefits us constituents, like getting federal money for a Caltrain tunnel or providing more housing. She should find a more productive use of her time. Maybe a local Democrat should challenge her in the next election? The campaign could focus on what little she has done for her district. She seems a lot like Mike Honda, who was defeated by a Democrat who appears more energetic, more interested in helping his district rather that just coasting along.


10 people like this
Posted by smokin' hot take
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 9, 2017 at 5:40 pm

>I'd rather have her work on legislation that benefits us constituents, like getting federal money for a Caltrain tunnel or providing more housing.

And the Republicans will do that for her???? On what planet?!?

At least this puts the word out - transparency matters!


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 9, 2017 at 7:33 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"transparency matters!"

No it doesn't. They don't care. In case you haven't noticed, they don't have to, especially now.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 9, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Where are Eshoo's tax returns posted?


6 people like this
Posted by Desque
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 10, 2017 at 8:26 am

Are we saying transparency does NOT matter?

This sounds like the ones who suddenly think Putin is a great guy. Russia is our friend. NATO isn't important. More countries should have nukes. Nominees shouldn't have to disclose foreign sources of money. Neuter all the ethics watchdogs. Supported by 8 American presidents, the Two-State solution is a waste, as is the One China policy.

Who ARE you people?

I fear for our great country. Where's Ronald Reagan when we need him?


4 people like this
Posted by Desque
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 10, 2017 at 8:30 am

Transparency doesn't matter - so we should repeal the Brown Act - amiright?


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 10, 2017 at 11:44 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Desque:

Congress has never been subject to the Brown act.


Like this comment
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 10, 2017 at 12:19 pm

pogo is a registered user.

The Brown Act relates to transparency and notice of official actions by the government, not the personal finances of private individuals.


1 person likes this
Posted by Mike G
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 10, 2017 at 12:24 pm

For once I agree with Peter Carpenter.... It's really simple, where are Eshoo's tax returns posted? That's all I could think reading through all the other babble. Tax returns are pointless for transparency that's why it hasn't been done in the last 80+ years.


5 people like this
Posted by Magowan
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 10, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Tax returns not done for last 80 years? I can find Nixon, Ford, Carter Reagan Bush and Bush tax returns. I can find almost 40 years of Clinton returns.

What is the down side to transparency? You all want it on the local level!

Tax returns are a start. No reason not to require them. All the arguments above are silly straw men.

Transparency is the only way to defend democracy. If you're interested in democracy. If not, nothing to to see here.

Dasvidaniya!


4 people like this
Posted by XPower
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 10, 2017 at 3:16 pm

Apologists for millionaires and billionaires. If it was good enough for Reagan and Bush, it's good enough for Trump. Besides, Trump PROMISED he would do it. Over and over. Take the man at his word. Personal responsibility.


7 people like this
Posted by babbling brook
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 10, 2017 at 4:46 pm

Glad so many of my neighbors trust politicians and we have no need to investigate their backgrounds and from whom they take money. Nothing to worry about! Trust! No need to verify!


Like this comment
Posted by Jenson
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 10, 2017 at 8:44 pm

Are you kidding, Not impressed. Maybe you could focus on our issues in Menlo Park...say Surf Air for ramping up their flights and creating noise over our houses all day for starters. Time for you to go


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 12, 2017 at 12:43 pm

We should have someone of stature to challenge Anna Eshoo in the 2018 Congressional primary. Someone with great knowledge and accomplishment. Someone who is a political tour de force and whose ethics are beyond reproach. That someone is Kelly Fergusson.


2 people like this
Posted by Artistic
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 12, 2017 at 4:21 pm

I guess everyone here thinks eshoo is Trump-like in that he can only focus on 1 thing at a time, and for very short periods.

She can do multiple bills at the same time. What bill (that has a chance at passing) should she create? Y'all be saying she should but havent come up with anything!


2 people like this
Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 12, 2017 at 5:31 pm

@Artistic

"What bill (that has a chance at passing) should she create?"

Eshoo should propose a bill that allows local communities to limit flight operators that generate too much noise. Of course, I'm talking about Surf Air here.

There are a lot of other communities around the country that are upset that the FAA won't allow them to control local flight operations. I'm sure Eshoo would find broad bipartisan support.


Like this comment
Posted by Not Perfect
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Jan 13, 2017 at 11:34 am

"For once I agree with Peter Carpenter.... It's really simple, where are Eshoo's tax returns posted? "

Perfect is the enemy of the good.

I agree that tax return transparency for politicians should go beyond the presidency, so on that score I agree with others opinions. But starting at the President is a good first step.

I'll also point out that according to the article, Eshoo attempted similar legislation before Trump was elected, making it clear that her legislation was meant to apply regardless who won the presidency.

I'm not an Eshoo fan (sadly, the moderates of the Republican party have totally abandoned California), but I think the portrayal of Eshoo here on this topic is a bit unfair. Welcome to social media, I guess.


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