Derek Muller op-ed, “Don’t Use the Ballot to Get Trump’s Tax Returns” — New York Times

April 3, 2017 | By Kylie Larkin — An op-ed by Professor Derek T. Muller, “Don’t Use the Ballot to Get Trump’s Tax Return,” appears in today’s New York Times. The article considers the effect of state bills that would compel presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.

Excerpt via the New York Times:

Opponents of Donald Trump were outraged when, flouting recent tradition, he refused to disclose his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign. They remain outraged that he continues to decline to do so as president.

Now that political outrage is being channeled into legislation. Lawmakers in at least two dozen states have introduced bills that would compel presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns or be left off the ballot in 2020. The New Jersey Legislature recently passed such a bill, which sits on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk.

Mr. Christie should veto the bill, and other states should abandon their efforts. Making the disclosure of tax returns mandatory is bad policy and, in this form, probably unconstitutional.

It is rarely a good idea to try to resolve an ordinary political skirmish by making it a matter of statutory law. The political process is a flexible tool for addressing such issues case by case; a statute is a monolithic, one-size-fits-all solution. The tax disclosure issue is better served by the former.

The complete article may be found at www.nytimes.com

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