Gov. Newsom signs law requiring candidates to release tax returns to qualify for state primary

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law which is aimed at forcing President Trump to reveal his tax returns. The bill requires every candidate to release five years of past tax returns in order to compete in the state’s primaries. From KPIX 5:


While the law is aimed at Trump, it would apply to all presidential contenders and candidates for governor…

Candidates will be required to submit tax returns for the most recent five years to California’s Secretary of State at least 98 days before the primary. They will then be posed online for the public to view, with certain personal information redacted.

However, it’s not clear if that would impact Trump, who is running unopposed within his party for reelection. If he simply ignored the California primary he would still secure the GOP nomination. However, the Sacramento Bee reports the new law could impact some Democrats, including their leading candidate:

Of the 12 highest-polling candidates, four would not currently qualify for a spot on California’s ballot, including former Vice President Joe Biden – who has only released three years of tax returns…

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and venture capitalist Andrew Yang have not yet disclosed their tax information.

But all of this is assuming the new bill isn’t brought down by the courts, which is what Trump’s team expects will happen:

The issue of disclosing tax returns to get on California’s 2020 primary ballot could prove moot if Trump prevails in an all-but-certain legal challenge.

Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, previously told The Bee that “the Constitution is clear on the qualifications for someone to serve as president and states cannot add additional requirements on their own.”


Even Gov. Moonbeam thought this was a stretch and vetoed it. Here’s a bit of what Jerry Brown said in 2017:

“Today we require tax returns, but what would be next?” he wrote in his veto message. “Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power?”

This is another feel-good moment for the resistance but it’s not likely to withstand a court challenge and, even if it does, Trump could probably sidestep it if he wanted to do so.

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