GOP senator plans to introduce bill requiring candidates to release tax returns

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said he plans to introduce an ethics reform bill requiring presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their tax returns. 

Sasse on Wednesday said President Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, a break from longstanding tradition, has soured public trust in Washington. 

{mosads}”There are things about the tax returns provision [of the bill] that have been a norm of American politics for decades,” Sasse, a frequent critic of Trump, said on CNN. “It’s never been a law but everybody has always done it. This is the first time it hasn’t happened.”

“The president’s said he would release them once he got the nomination, and then once he got elected,” Sasse continued. “I think there’s a lot of distrust. We should release them.” 

Sasse will introduce a five-part ethics bill on Thursday aimed at “draining the swamp,” he said.

The bill will ban Cabinet officials and their spouses from soliciting foreign donations, an apparent swipe at the Clinton Foundation, which accepted millions of dollars from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was secretary of State. 

Other provisions in the bill include creating a database of human resources settlements for members of Congress and banning lawmakers from making money as lobbyists after they leave office. 

“There are five different bills I’m going introduce tomorrow and I think a lot of them are going to make everybody mad,” Sasse, a frequent critic of both parties, continued.

CNN’s Jake Tapper pushed back on the GOP senator, saying the bill is necessary but unlikely to pass because it would work against lawmakers’ best interests.

“What member of Congress is going to vote for that?” Tapper asked of the provision banning former lawmakers from accepting lobbying positions.

“If what I’m talking about here is really that strange in Washington, D.C., then Washington, D.C., is even further removed from the public than we think,” Sasse replied.

The Hill has reached out to Sasse’s office for further comment on the bill.