Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has an idea to keep political candidates honest: release their tax returns prior to being elected.
As part of a sweeping legislative package the Massachusetts Democrat dubbed the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, Warren on Tuesday proposed that the Internal Revenue Service be required to release tax returns from the previous eight years for any presidential or vice presidential candidates.
The IRS would also do so for each year these individuals are in federal office. For congressional candidates, it would cover the previous two years before serving in office.
While the broader bill focuses on corruption and lobbying at all levels, this specific stipulation seems to aim directly at President Trump, who infamously won the presidency without ever disclosing his tax returns to the American public.
To enforce some of the proposals she outlined—including the banning of individual stock ownership for elected officials, a life-time ban on lobbying for presidents, vice presidents, members of Congress, federal judges, and cabinet secretaries, and a ban on American lobbyists from accepting foreign money—Warren wants to create a new independent enforcement agency.
“There are dedicated public servants that enforce our ethics laws, but they have less authority than security guards at the mall,” she said during a speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday morning. “Build a new anticorruption agency to make sure that all key federal officials—even powerful senators and presidents—file disclosures and get rid of conflicts. Close up the loopholes in federal open records laws. This agency can shine floodlights on government actions and empower the public and press with new tools to help safeguard our democracy.”
She continued: “We can do our best to insulate the sheriff’s office from partisan politics and give it the tools it needs to seriously investigate violations and punish offenders.”
While such a expansive bill—one that would reshape the way lobbying is done in the nation’s capital—is not likely to pass during this administration, Warren’s prescriptions may serve as guidelines for progressives eager to get money out of politics; and it could provide a framework for potential Democratic presidential candidates.