Congressman Dan Newhouse recently became a co-sponsor of a bill requiring a president-elect to release his tax returns.
The action comes nearly four months after Newhouse, at a town hall in Sunnyside, promised residents he would help write a bill making it mandatory for a president to release his tax returns.
The President-Elect Release of Tax Return Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Thomas Garrett Jr., R-Virginia, would require the president-elect to submit a copy of federal income tax returns for the most recent four years to the leadership of the House Administration Committee and the Senate Rules Committee before electoral college votes are counted.
While the popular vote would already have been taken, the information could be considered by electoral college members before voting.
The bill does not require the returns to be released to the public. But it allows committee members to release the information.
Should the president-elect fail to submit his tax returns, the Secretary of the Treasury would release the returns to the two committees, according to the bill.
“I think this is pretty much a reflection of not only some conversations I’ve had with people in my district, but also my own personal feelings on the issue,” Newhouse said.
It’s unclear if the bill will satisfy residents who asked for it at a town hall meeting Sunnyside in April.
Most of those asking for the legislation wanted it to apply to the current president as well as future ones.
Newhouse said that under the bill, President Donald Trump would have to release his returns if he is re-elected.
“I just felt that instead of going backwards and amending rules on an election that’s already happened, it’d be better to look forward and so that in the future, all candidates and prospective candidates know what’s expected of them going in,” he said.
Despite little movement since the bill was introduced on the House floor in April, Newhouse said it has come up in several conversations with Republicans and Democrats.
“Frankly, a lot of people are talking about the need for transparency and trying to find a way to address it ...” he said.
The bill is now in the House Ways and Means and Oversight and Government Reform committees.