Fair is fair

If the American public expects presidential candidates to release their tax returns, shouldn’t the same demands be made of other elected officials?

McClatchy Newspapers recently asked for the most recent tax returns of all 535 members of the U.S. Congress. Only 17 agreed to do release them.

The top leaders in the Senate – Democrat Harry Reid and Republican Mitch McConnell – and the House – Democrat Nancy Pelosi and Republican John Boehner – were among those who declined to respond.

No members of the Washington state congressional delegation responded.

The public should have a right to know if those creating our nation’s tax policies are personally benefiting, and whether any conflicts of interest exist.

Members of both the House and Senate are developing bills to require more disclosure. One would require presidential candidates to release 10 years of tax returns, and another would call for disclosure regarding use of tax shelters.

Both measures have merit and should apply to Congress, as well as the White House.