DENVER – Colorado Democrats are trying to send a message to Donald Trump and any future presidential or vice presidential candidates: show us your tax returns or you won’t be on Colorado’s ballot.
House Bill 1328 passed the House Friday on a partisan vote – just as it did when it passed the House Finance Committee on Monday. It now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it faces an uphill battle.
In the event the bill does make it through the Senate, which is unlikely, and signed by Gov. Hickenlooper, all U.S. presidential and vice presidential candidates would have to release their last five years of federal tax returns 90 days before the General Election.
The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office would have to post the returns on its website within seven days of receiving the filings.
If any candidate fails to release their tax returns, both they and their running mate would be disqualified from being on the official ballot.
The bill also modifies code for electors by requiring them to vote for a candidate whose name was on the ballot and complied with the tax return requirement.
Though Trump is technically not lawfully required to reveal his tax returns, his failure to do so breaks with decades of tradition of candidates releasing theirs to show the public how much they earn and what their tax rates are.
Trump and his camp have long maintained that he would release his returns once a supposed audit was finished, but IRS officials have said that audits do not bar people from releasing their returns.
More than half of Americans said in a recent poll they believed Trump should be forced to release his returns, and Colorado is one of among at least 24 states that have introduced similar legislation, though some legal experts are dubious about the bills' legality.
Thousands of people rallied at Denver’s Civic Center Park last Saturday demanding Trump release his tax returns in a Tax Day march.