SB 888/HB 2909 President & VP Candidates to Release Income Tax Return

Died in Senate Committee

Requires major candidates for President or Vice President to release their federal income tax return or submit Oregon Government Ethics Commission statement of economic interest in order to appear on primary or general election ballot and voters' pamphlet, and consent for public disclosure. (similar to HB 2909)

Personal Choice and Responsibility
Adding a state requirement for a President and Vice President candidate to appear on the ballot is limiting voters their right to vote in a national election. This violates the intent of the 15th Amendment of the US Constitution protecting the right to vote to all races, color, or based on prior history. Violates the Fourteenth Amendment, which says that states shall lose congressional representation "when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States…is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States…" By denying a national candidate from the ballot is the same as denying a citizens a complete ballot.

Fiscal Responsibility
The required Oregon Government Ethics Commission economic interest statement, which is one of the options, is required of certain Oregon candidates to file under ORS 244.060. These statements are not widely published or transparent to voters. No voter has complained about not having easy access to this information which raises the question for this bill.

Limited Government
This bill has consequences that can potentially take Oregon out of an election for President denying voters of their rights. It is not within the right of a State to create some artificial restriction to ballot access of the duly nominated candidate by a political party registered in the State for any office. Presidential candidates do release a financial statement, but there is no legal requirement in either the U.S. Constitution or federal law to release any personal/financial/other information. This bill is an attempt to regulate political parties, which are private entities, in an unconstitutional manner as well as restricting access to the ballot for an unjust reason that isn't related to the qualification for office. It is apparent it is in response to President Trump only submitting a financial statement and not disclosing his income tax form, we now know he paid more taxes and donated more than prior Presidents. Oregon should leave this issue to a national process and allow voters a full range of candidates for which to research and come to their own conclusion for whom to vote.

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