The South Carolina Republican, whose name likely appears near the top of an actual list of political enemies reportedly maintained by the president, told the press on Wednesday that he would propose a requirement for “any candidate running in 2020” to hand over their tax returns, including Trump, “if he’s a candidate for president” in four years.
Asked how he would compel candidates to turn over the records, Graham replied: “You just make it a law.”
A bill to accomplish just that was introduced last year by Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, more than five months before the election. The Presidential Tax Transparency Act would have amended the federal campaign law to require presidential nominees to surrender copies of their three most recent tax returns.
The bill would have further empowered the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to make those records public by amending the Internal Revenue Code.
Unfortunately for Graham, Wyden’s act never made it to President Barack Obama’s desk. Luckily, however, Wyden introduced a similar bill in January for the 115th Congress, which would not only compel future presidential nominees to disclose but the sitting president as well.
A spokesperson for Graham could not be immediately reached to ask whether he intended to throw support behind Wyden’s bill or introduce legislation of his own.
Wyden, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, relatedly called on Wednesday for that committee’s chairman—Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)—to use his authority to request Trump’s tax returns for a closed-session review, citing the ongoing investigation into alleged ties between Russia and Trump campaign associates.
Read a letter to Sen. Hatch signed by Sen. Wyden and six other Senate Finance Committee members below: