After a full presidential campaign and two years of his presidency, Trump has still refused to release his tax returns. Some states are looking to change that. For example, Illinois proposed banning Trump from the 2020 ballot if he doesn't release his tax returns by then. On Thursday, the state Senate considered the bill — and there was serious support for it.
The state Senate voted 36-19 in favor of the new bill, which will now move to the House for a vote, according to NPR. In Illinois, the House, like the Senate, is majority Democrat.
Sen. Tony Munoz, a state senator who sponsored the legislation, didn't mention Trump's name once during the speech he gave on the Senate floor on Thursday in support of the bill, per NPR. Munoz said in part:
If you want to run for vice president or president of the United States, hey, what's wrong with providing your tax returns for the past five years? If you've got nothing to hide, you shouldn't worry about anything. That's how I see it.
Illinois is one of several other states considering a similar bill. Seventeen other state legislatures are looking into the same requirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
This isn't the only strategy Democrats are using to try to force the president's hand. Democratic lawmakers in New York introduced legislation this week that aims to make POTUS release his state income tax returns public. To CBS News on Tuesday, New York state Senator Brad Hoylman said:
Here you have a president who is stonewalling the U.S. Congress, a co-equal branch of government undertaking its important oversight responsibilities. Lo and behold, we have Donald Trump's tax returns here in the state of New York and we can provide them to Congress if the IRS, if the Treasury Department won't.
Meanwhile, those in the Oval Office don't appear to be sweating these new legislative moves. In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was asked whether Democrats would ever see POTUS' tax returns. He said, "Oh no, never. Nor should they." Later, he added, "That's an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the president could've have given his tax returns. They knew that he didn't and they elected him anyway."
Last week, Richard Neal, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, sent a letter to the chairman of the IRS requesting the release of Trump's tax returns, with a deadline of April 10. That deadline came and went; the IRS has not yet responded to the request. As for Trump himself, he has not professed any public inclination to offer the returns up, himself. On April 3, after hearing word of Neal's letter to the IRS, Trump said to a room of reporters, "We’re under audit despite what people said. We’re working that out...because the numbers are big and I guess when you have a name, you’re audited."
As for the bill's fate in Illinois, it's likely that it will pass the Democrat-controlled House, but it's not clear whether Illinois' governor, JB Pritzker, will sign it into law. Per NPR, Pritzker is a Democrat, and has not indicated his opinion of the bill yet.