Levin Calls on Romney to Release Tax Information and Prepares New Legislation to Strengthen Financial Disclosure and Tax Return Requirements for Presidential Candidates

Jul 18, 2012 Issues: Economy, Government Reform

Legislation would require 10 years of tax returns and disclosure of overseas accounts and other financial transactions

Representative Sander Levin (D-MI) is preparing legislation to amend the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to require presidential candidates to make public 10 years of tax returns and disclose overseas accounts. The legislation, to be introduced in the coming weeks, comes as Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney continues to balk at releasing a broad set of tax returns and fails to come forward with a full disclosure of accounts he has held overseas.

“The stunning lack of transparency from someone in pursuit of the highest office in the country highlights the need to change the law to require fuller disclosure,” said Rep. Levin. “For decades, presidential candidates have voluntarily provided a thorough accounting of their tax returns and finances, as they should. But we clearly cannot continue to rely solely on the willingness of a candidate to disclose fully what the public has a right to know about the candidate’s financial record.”

Rep. Levin also called on Gov. Romney to immediately release 10 years of tax returns.

“Gov. Romney must immediately release these tax returns and explain them to the American people,” said Rep. Levin.  “The American people should not be left to wonder what he is not disclosing and why not. The law should enforce what is such obvious good, transparent, accountable government.”

In addition to requiring candidates to release 10 years of tax returns, the legislation would require presidential candidate financial disclosures to include the following information not currently included on disclosures and not easily discernible from tax returns.  These disclosures would provide a fuller picture of a candidate’s financial holdings and interests.  In general terms, the legislation would require the candidate to also disclose:

  • The location (country), value, and economic purpose of each offshore account, holding or investment of the candidate (other than investments in publicly traded corporations). 
  • The portion of the candidate’s capital gains income attributable to an investment of the candidate’s capital and the portion that is earned by managing other people’s money (i.e. carried interest income).
  • Details of any ongoing compensatory arrangement between the candidate and any other individual or entity.
  • More comprehensive disclosure of assets, including purchases and sales of assets, held by tax preferred accounts such as IRAs and 401(k) plans. 
  • Details of the assets and activities of any entity in which the candidate has a controlling interest.