President Donald Trump's name might not return to the election ballot in Washington state if he doesn't release his tax returns.
That's the contention of State Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood.
"We can't allow this to become the new normal," he said.
Even though every president since Nixon has released his tax returns and potential business conflicts for public scrutiny, Trump continues to refuse.
Liias argues states have specific procedures in place that dictate what a candidate must do to get his name on the ballot. He sent a letter to Washington's Attorney General asking if the release of tax returns is one of them.
"We know that he has very sophisticated business relationships in the U.S. and around the world. I think all of us want to be assured that when he's making decisions he's making them in the best interest of all of us, not just himself,” said Liias.
Lawmakers in 26 states are looking into ways to force the president to release his tax returns.
Liias says keeping Trump off the next ballot is only one potential way to force the issue. The other involves the state's 12 electoral votes.
"States have the power to cast our electoral votes," said Liias. "Can we say we're not going to cast our electoral votes for a candidate who doesn't disclose his tax returns? That's what I want to know."
Any opinion by the A.G. likely wouldn't come until next year. Any action against the Trump campaign would almost certainly be sent to the courts.
Polls differ on how many Americans care about the president's tax returns. Regardless, Liias maintains this is not a case of partisan politics.
"If Howard Schultz, our Seattle billionaire, ends up running for president I want him to provide the same level of disclosure and transparency to the American people," said Liias.
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