Rep. Huffman Introduces Protecting Access to Classified Information in Elections ActFrom McGuire's Office:
Washington, D.C.- Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Hank Johnson (D-GA) introduced the Protecting Access to Classified Information in Elections Act, new legislation to modernize and standardize the way candidates for President and Vice President are granted access to national security secrets.
Under longstanding practice, sitting Presidents have authorized candidates to receive classified briefings, as a way to ensure that no matter which candidate wins, he or she takes the oath of office with an understanding of the global and national security responsibilities of the office. However, those candidates have not been required to seek security clearances or undergo a background investigation. The Protecting Access to Classified Information in Elections Act would authorize and encourage candidates to be thoroughly vetted by a federal background investigation, and allow the candidate to publicize the fact that they have passed the vetting process.
“This week’s Manchurian moment begs the question: how did a presidential candidate with such potentially disqualifying baggage slide through the process without a way for voters to know about it?” said Rep. Huffman. “Going forward, there is a clear public interest in ensuring that presidential candidates are not deeply compromised or vulnerable to blackmail. My Protecting Access to Classified Information in Elections Act would help protect the national security of our country by putting a process in place to encourage presidential candidates to undergo a national security clearance investigation well before the election.”
Rep. Huffman spoke on the need for his new legislation on the House floor. Watch the full clip here.
“As the historic debacle in Helsinki showed us this week, we as a nation can no longer stand idly by as our president chooses his own self-interest over the common good and national security of the American people,” said Rep. Johnson. “Not only will this common sense bill update and modernize our security clearance standards, but help protect America from unfriendly foreign forces seeking to undermine our democracy.”
The security clearance vetting process includes reviews of foreign investments and other business ties, bankruptcies, financial problems, legal judgments, and other potential liabilities and vulnerabilities to blackmail. In addition to authorizing a candidate for President or Vice President to seek a security clearance and undergo a background investigation, the bill also gives candidates who have been granted a security clearance the option of publicly disclosing this fact through a website maintained by the Director of National Intelligence.
California legislators to reintroduce Presidential Tax Transparency bill
Sacramento, CA — With President Trump showing more allegiance to Russia than America’s own intelligence agencies this week, California State Senators are gearing up to reintroduce legislation that would require all presidential primary candidates to release their tax returns prior to being placed on the California ballot.
“This week’s events in Helsinki will go down as one of the most damaging and disgraceful in modern American political history,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “We’re all searching for an explanation of the President's shamefully submissive behavior this week as he denounced our country’s intelligence agencies, the American public and our allies while cozying up to the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. There is one definitive way to bring to light any potential financial and legal conflicts of interest that could drive an American president into the arms of a hostile foreign power – that’s making Trump’s tax returns public. We’re grateful to be teaming up with Senator Wiener on this important initiative.”
Last year, Senators Mike McGuire and Scott Wiener introduced the Presidential Tax Transparency & Accountability Act – which would have required basic tax information to be shared with the American public and require that all presidential candidates release the last 5 years of their tax returns in order to appear on the California ballot. The returns would also be made available to the public on the Secretary of State’s website.
The Presidential Tax Transparency bill was passed by the legislature with Republican and Democratic support in 2017 but was not signed into law. Senators McGuire and Wiener will reintroduce the bill later this year.
“It was appalling to watch the President trash our own intelligence agencies while lavishing praise on and siding with Vladimir Putin. While it’s clear Trump is willing to sell out our country and values, it’s unclear if he’s doing it to satisfy his personal financial interests, since he refused to be transparent as a candidate. The American people should not be in the dark about our President’s finances and conflicts of interest, and we must ensure they never are again. Requiring presidential candidates to disclose basic financial information is a common sense measure that builds trust between the American people and their elected leader. I’m proud to partner with Senator McGuire on this effort to strengthen our democracy and give voters the full transparency they deserve,” Senator Scott Wiener said.
Prior to Donald Trump’s refusal to release any tax returns, every president since Jimmy Carter (over 40 years) has released at least one year of tax returns. During the 2016 Presidential election, Hillary Clinton (Democratic) and Jill Stein (Green) both released their tax returns.
Contrary to what President Trump has stated in public that Americans don’t care about his tax returns, 74 percent of respondents in national polls on the issue believe President Trump should release his tax returns.