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March Forward Massachusetts Action Fund Seeks to Force Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns

Building on nationwide momentum, March Forward Massachusetts has announced its first action since the historic Boston Women’s March, encouraging supporters and partners to amplify efforts to pass legislation in Massachusetts requiring presidential candidates to release their recently-filed tax returns.

Presented by State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), Bill S.365 – An Act Restoring Financial Transparency in Presidential Elections – is one of more than 25 nationally requiring presidential and vice-presidential candidates to release tax returns in order to appear on individual state ballots. Candidates in major party primary elections would be required to submit their three most recently-filed tax returns to the Secretary of State, and candidates for president and vice president in the November general election to submit their five most recent returns.

“Americans once assumed that the stature of the Office of the President ensured the disclosure by candidates of their tax returns and possible conflicts of interest. The 2016 election shattered this confidence.”

—Massachusetts State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington)
Why It Matters

Truth. Fairness. Our democratic norms and principles. Since last year’s bitter and cynical election, many of us have felt like the fabric of our democracy has been slowly unraveling.

For 40 years, seekers of the highest office in the land voluntarily released their tax returns as a show of good faith to the American people. But President Trump has refused to do so. Americans deserve truth.

  • President Trump claims he is separated from ownership of his businesses, but he may be violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and we don’t fully understand the breadth and depth of his conflicts of interest.
  • As concerns about the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia mount, the information gleaned from full financial disclosure would fill in the picture. Is the President beholden or indebted to foreign leaders or others whose interests are not those of the United States? We simply do not know.
  • We should expect our leaders to exemplify decency and moral standard. It is incumbent upon the American people to set an ethical bar for their president and elected leaders. Requiring tax-disclosure codifies a long-standing tradition of transparency and trust between everyday Americans and seekers of the highest office in the land.
  • Most important, we must understand how the President of the United States may be manipulating the Office of the Presidency to enrich himself and his family at a time when he is mounting a callous assault on programs and protections that serve and uplift our poor and middle class families.
PHOTOS:
Top: Emily Scott
Side, John W. Iwanski
How You Can Get Involved

Since we cannot trust the President to behave ethically on his own, we must require him to do so.

Massachusetts is one of many states across the country to take up the issue of President Trump’s potential financial conflicts via access to the ballot. Unleashing the coordinated and sustained advocacy of our marchers and allies, we hope to fast-track S.365—inspiring the State Legislature to put the bill to a vote and get it on to the Governor’s desk for signature.

Together, our voices become and overwhelming chorus demanding action and accountability, and making Massachusetts one of the first in the nation to set the ethical bar for the Presidency.

There are many ways to make our voices heard.