Published: Fri, August 02, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Election 2020: Trump Faces Major Re-Election Problem, California Requires His Tax Returns

Election 2020: Trump Faces Major Re-Election Problem, California Requires His Tax Returns

Gavin Newsom (D) signed a tax transparency bill on Tuesday that will require presidential and gubernatorial candidates to disclose their tax returns in order to appear on the state's primary ballot.

President Trump has bucked decades of tradition by refusing to release his tax returns.

Newsom's signature on SB 27 sets the stage for a nationally watched legal debate over a state's power to decide which names appear on its presidential ballot.

The president's personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, responded to the passing of the California law, saying Trump expects to challenge it in court.

California enacted a law this week that requires presidential candidates to submit five years of income-tax filings to be eligible for the state's primary ballot, the Los Angeles Times reported. The information would then be published online for the public to see, with contact information, Social Security numbers and medical information redacted.

The passage of California's new law comes as the president weathers a flurry of investigations led by congressional Democrats.

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Two years ago, the California legislature passed a bill similar to the one Newsom signed into law, but his Democratic predecessor, Jerry Brown, vetoed the legislation.

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

Mnuchin accused House Democrats of "weaponizing the IRS" by trying to obtain Trump's tax returns and suggested the battle may ultimately have to be decided by the courts. High school report cards?

Earlier this year, OR lawmakers debated a proposal that would have kept any candidate who had not released the prior five years of tax returns from appearing on the state's general election ballots starting in November 2020. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar proposal previous year. But courts have also upheld several so-called "ballot access" rules in primary elections, finding that states have a "right to regulate elections by imposing reasonable requirements on candidates".

"What's next, five years of health records?" said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for Trump's campaign. Brown argued in his veto message.

California is holding next year's primary on March 3, known as Super Tuesday because the high number of state's with nominating contests that day. "This is the state acting to make sure that its voters have information that might be very important to them when they cast their ballots as to who they want to be President of the United States". The new measure would violate the protections of the 1st Amendment's right of association, the campaign says, asserting that the state does not have the right to tell parties who to vote for in a primary election. That could mean any unusual tax deductions might play a role in how voters in the first states to select candidates - Iowa, New Hampshire and SC - weigh the merits of the Democratic hopefuls.

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