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Hawaii lawmaker wants to require presidential candidates to release tax returns

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    Hawaii state Rep. Chris Lee talked today about a bill he’s proposing to require presidential candidates to release tax returns.

Lawmakers in Hawaii and several other states want to prevent presidential candidates from appearing on their states’ ballots unless the candidates release their tax returns.

They’re responding to President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to not release his tax returns during the presidential campaign, breaking decades of precedent.

The Hawaii bill would require candidates to release five years of federal and state tax returns to qualify for the ballot, state Rep. Chris Lee said Wednesday. Similar proposals are circulating in California, Massachusetts and New Mexico.

“It’s a reasonable step since every modern president has released their tax returns and put their assets into a blind trust to make sure the only interest they have is the interest of our country and its people,” Lee said. “I think we’re in a very dangerous climate in which that could change.”

Lee consulted with lawyers who assured him it’s legal, and if the bill passes it will undergo a thorough review from the state attorney general, he said.

Lee is still working out details on the Hawaii bill, but he plans to include a way to make the tax returns public. In the Massachusetts bill, that state’s Secretary of State would be required to make the tax returns public within a month of each vote.

“If even one or two states take action, it changes the game,” Lee said.

Trump has interests in 500 companies in about 20 countries, according to a disclosure document released in May.

California state Sens. Scott Wiener and Mike McGuire are planning to introduce similar legislation, saying financial information should be made available to voters to build critical public trust.

Nationwide, about two-thirds of registered voters said it’s somewhat or very important for presidential candidates to release their tax returns, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll in September.

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        • Nothing will compare with the corruption that will exist under the Donald. Meet the new swamp, ten times as big and deep as the old swamp, full of slime of all types.

          Just think sanctions against Russia will probably soon be lifted and why? So that Exon can make a ton of money drilling in Russia. Love that new swamp. Its so clean. lol

      • I will be surprised if the Donald runs for reelection. After a couple of years of major conflicts of interest, even republicans might tire of him and give him the boot.

    • lol, the idiots are the people who voted for the Donald believing that he will drain the swamp. The only thing the Donald will do is to make the swamp ten time bigger and twice as deep. Now we soon may have a SOS that clearly has a conflict of interest with dealing with Russia. Well maybe we should lift all sanctions against Russia so that Exon can drill baby drill in Russia? Let them deal with the oil spills?

  • lee go jump in the lake he does not have to release his taxes that you guys been trying the last few months he won the election without releasing his taxes so go back to crying because Hillary lost you crybaby.

    • You are right, he doesn’t have to release his tax returns yet. But he is the first presidential candidate not to release his tax returns in decades. And you thought you were actually voting for someone who would drain the swamp. lol, Enjoy the expansion.

  • The Constitution gives three eligibility requirements to be president: one must be 35 years of age, a resident “within the United States” for 14 years, and a “natural born Citizen,” a term not defined in the Constitution. Everything else (tax returns, blind trust, etc) is BS.

  • Chris Lee should be concerned about Hawaii and not about the PE. One of he most left, liberal in the corrupt Democrat Party, he is an embarrassment to Hawaii Nei. Please don’t vote for Lee and people like him back into office.

    • I wonder if he would be requiring disclosure of Clinton Foundation travel expenses, etc., in order to “build public trust” if Hillary had won. Only in Hawaii.

    • You haven’t seen corruption yet. Just give the Donald time. His entire administration will be covered in slime. Tell me Maipono, do you favor the lifting of sanctions against Russia so that Exon can drill there? No problem right?

  • Oh Gawd another political opportunist, just what we needed. How about representing your constituency Chris? Did a poll with the constituency have this as the top priority? I swear we should force law makers to attend political science 101 over at the UH.

  • Mahalo Chris Lee. This President Elect said that he would release his taxes and now will not keep his word, surprise. We should be able to know who he is indebted to, including his beloved Russia and other foreign governments, should he still be in office in 2020. Everyone running for the Presidency should be willing to disclose their taxes.

    • No one actually believed that he would release his tax returns did they? I mean he is under audit and probably will be for the rest of his life. Maybe after he dies? How can people be so gullible to believe anything this clown says?

  • Mr. Lee should focus one substantive matters which effect Hawaii. There are certainly enough problems in Hawaii for our Legislators too deal with. Yet this guy is going off
    wasting then tax payers time and money trying to be cute. He is wasting valuable Legislative time and only trying to get attention. It is difficult to comprehend that this one
    term legislator isn’t introducing bills that are of significance to Hawaii. Come on Mr. Lee wake up and pay attention to the many problems which effect our everyday life
    here in Hawaii.

    • You do realize that for civil service local government jobs you are required to file an annual financial disclosure form detailing you and your spouses salary, property interests, other financial interests, etc. to show that there is no conflict of interest?

  • Not that Hawaii’s electoral college votes matter, but in the Donald’s case if he were to comply, he would be instantly eligible for impeachment.

  • Why tax returns only? How about original vault copies of birth certificates, actual medical records instead of letters from doctors and all academic records?

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