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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: July 27, 2018 02:51 PM
From: Representative Scott Conklin
To: All House members
Subject: State and Federal Candidate Disclosure of Federal Income Tax Returns
One of the most important aspects of good government is transparency. As elected officials, it is our responsibility to represent the interests of our constituents without any questions as to our motives or our agenda. To ensure our constituents’ trust is not misplaced, I will be introducing legislation amending the Pennsylvania Election Code to require candidates for certain state and federal offices to submit copies of their federal tax returns and a written consent to release and publication of their returns no later than 90 days prior to the general election.

As a member of the class of 2007, which changed the House of Representatives’ arcane operating procedures and helped improve and enact the Open Records Law, I support any legislation that creates greater transparency. While neither federal nor state law requires candidates to release federal tax returns, some candidates do so to build trust with the electorate and show accountability. Sadly, in recent years, there have been candidates who have preferred to keep their federal tax returns private to protect their personal interests and potentially hide their motives for seeking office. If a candidate is unwilling to be honest and open about their finances, how can voters have confidence in them to make decisions in their best interests as their elected official?

Pennsylvania’s voters have a right to know to if a conflict of interest exists due to a financial relationship between a candidate and another person or entity. While current state and federal laws require financial disclosure and campaign finance reporting, those reports are based on the candidate’s word. Without assurances and concrete facts, voters are asked to trust blindly. Please join me in instilling confidence in Pennsylvania’s voters while guaranteeing the accountability of candidates for state and federal office.

Introduced as HB2623