California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill requiring presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release their tax returns in order for their names to appear on the state’s primary ballot.
The new California law will likely force President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. The President has been refusing to release his tax returns citing the reason that he is under audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
SB 27 will “shed light on conflicts of interest”
On Tuesday, Gov. Newsom said California has the “constitutional right” to implement SB 27, the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act. Under the bill, presidential and gubernatorial candidates must release their tax returns over the past five years.
“As one of the largest economies in the world and home to one in nine Americans eligible to vote, California has a special responsibility to require this information of presidential and gubernatorial candidates,” said the Governor.
In addition, Gov. Newsom stressed, “These are extraordinary times and states have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards, and to restore public confidence. The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest.”
Furthermore, the Governor said, The United States Constitution grants states the authority to determine how their electors are chosen, and California is well within its constitutional right to include this requirement.”
Trump campaign argues California violated the Constitution
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign argued that California violated the Constitution for enacting the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act.
In a statement, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said, “There are very good reasons why the very liberal Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed this bill two years ago – it’s unconstitutional and it opens up the possibility for states to load up more requirements on candidates in future elections. What’s next, five years of health records?”
In October 2017, former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill, SB 149 citing the reason that it may be unconstitutional. He is also worried that it could set a “slippery slope” precedent.
Murtaugh added, “The Constitution is clear on the qualifications for someone to serve as president and states cannot add additional requirements on their own. The bill also violates the 1st Amendment right of association since California can’t tell political parties which candidates their members can or cannot vote for in a primary election.”
Gov. Newsom approved the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act amid the intensifying legal battle between House Democrats and Trump over his tax returns.