Action Item: Restore Financial Transparency in Presidential Elections (MA Bill S365)

FOCUS: Election Laws and Presidential Accountability

GOAL: Restore financial transparency in presidential elections



Contact members of the Joint Committee on Election Laws and let them know you support this bill:

Anne M. Gobi- D (Chair)
Michael J. Barrett- D (Vice Chair) *
John J. Mahoney- D (Chair)
Kenneth I. Gordon- D (Vice Chair) **

Kathleen O’Connor Ives- D
Patricia D. Jehlen- D **
Jason M. Lewis- D **
Ryan C. Fattman- R
Jonathan Hecht- D **
Tackey Chan- D
Russell E. Holmes- D
Diana DiZoglio – D
Alan Silvia – D
Evandro C. Carvalho – D
Joseph J. McGonagle Jr. – D
Nicholas A. Boldyga – R
Marc. T. Lombardo – R

*Sen. Barrett sponsored this bill.
** Denotes Bill co-sponsors


This bill, titled An Act restoring financial transparency in presidential elections, is designed to ensure that any future presidential candidate must submit his or her tax returns in order to appear on the ballot in Massachusetts. The need for such legislation has been made abundantly clear by the never ending stream of headlines tied to the current administration’s potential conflicts of interest and questionable financial dealings both at home and abroad.

Requiring presidential candidate to disclose their tax returns would go a long way toward providing transparency into ways in which a future President might be compromised by conflicts of interest including debts, investments, and financial dealings with domestic and foreign powers. Senator Mike Barrett presented the bill in January and describes it on his website as follows:

Going back at least 36 years, every major party candidate for President of the United States has released his or her tax returns.  This honorable tradition ended with the 2016 election.  Under SD98 a presidential candidate who refuses to submit tax returns or file a Statement of Financial Interests will be ineligible to appear on the relevant Massachusetts primary or general election ballot.  Laurence Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, has helped with the drafting.  He says the bill will “survive constitutional challenge all the way up to the Supreme Court if necessary.”  State legislators elsewhere in the country are filing similar bills.



Photo Credit: Flickr via Compfight cc