In this video, candidate Donald Trump talks about draining the swamp. Youtube

Washington – Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., on Friday joined a group of fellow Democrats re-introducing legislation that would require President Donald Trump – and his successors in the White House – to release their federal tax returns.

Presidents and presidential candidates have routinely disclosed their tax returns since the 1970s, but Trump has bucked that tradition by refusing to release his.

Murphy and the other co-sponsors of the legislation say the public needs to know about the president’s financial ties.

“Presidents have a lot of power—they can unilaterally change federal contracts, influence foreign governments, and impose sanctions,” Murphy said in a statement. “Americans deserve to know if the foreign policy decisions presidents make are based on the best interests of the country or made to benefit the president’s pocketbook.”

Murphy also said, “President Trump’s bizarre history of nonsensical foreign policy decisions could easily be explained by his or the Trump Organization’s financial ties to countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia.”

“The Presidential Tax Transparency Act” would require sitting presidents to release their most recent three years of tax returns to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE). It also requires that, within 15 days of becoming the nominee at the party convention, presidential nominees release their most recent 3 years of tax returns to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Should the sitting president or future candidates refuse to comply, the bill would require the U.S. Treasury to provide the tax returns directly to the OGE or FEC, respectively, for public release.

The bill is likely to stall again in the newly convened 116th Congress, as it did last year, because Republicans have the majority vote in the Senate.

But the House is now controlled by Democrats and chair all committees, including the Ways and Means Committee that has the legal authority to make a formal request to obtain years of Trump’s tax returns.

The Presidential Tax Transparency Act has more than 20 Democratic sponsors and was introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee.

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Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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