California Lawmakers: Release Tax Returns or Be Left off Primary Ballot

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On Thursday, the California State Senate approved legislation that would require Presidential candidates and candidates for the Governor of California, to release their tax returns in order to be on the states primary ballot.

Senate Bill 27 passed the Senate in a 29-10 vote. On Monday, the bill passed the State Assembly in a 57-17 vote.

The Bill was authored by State Senators Scott Wiener and Mike McGuire who in May amended the bill to include the transparency rules for the Office of the California Governor after Jerry Brown declined to release his own tax returns.

In May, McGuire and Wiener amended the legislation to extend the transparency rules to the office of the Governor of California as well as Presidential candidates.

The Presidential Tax Transparency & Accountability Act will require basic tax information to be shared with California residents and require that all presidential candidates, and candidates for the Governor, release the last five years of their tax returns in order to appear on the California ballot. The returns will be made available to the public on the Secretary of State’s website.

“Voters should have confidence that their President is in fact working for them and not to enrich himself or herself,” said Senator Wiener (D-San Francisco) joint author of SB 27. “Making a candidate’s tax returns public gives voters that confidence and builds trust. By also including the office of the Governor in this legislation, we show that we will hold our own executive to this vital standard.”

“The people are on our side, over 60% of Americans want President Trump to release his returns,” Senator McGuire said. “Voters deserve to know, for example, if the President is putting America’s security at risk through his tangled web of business dealings with corporate interests and his dealings with foreign governments and foreign banks. Here’s the bottom line: What does he have to hide?”

Included in this year’s Presidential Tax Transparency bill is an urgency clause so the legislation would take effect immediately, prior to the filing deadline for 2020 Presidential candidates.

In 2017, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a nearly identical bill saying the bill might not even be constitutional and called it a slippery slope.


4 COMMENTS

  1. So? Obama enriched himself thanks to the Presidency! How are you going to stop that? The Clintons DIDN’T HAVE A POT TO PISS IN when Bill was elected. Look at them now! Both of them released their tax returns.

  2. Tax returns are personal documents which are nobody’s business but of the person who files them.

  3. Huge congratulations to California for leading the nation by codifying this recently-trampled precedent. We the voters need to know if our President is corrupt or has foreign entanglements and this is the best way to do it.

    ###IMPORTANT NOTE: This requirement would not prevent anyone from voting for their candidate of choice. A voter can always write in their candidate. The law would only stop the state from pre-printing of non-compliant candidates names in the state ballot.

    In addition, here are a few of the numerous reasons why this presidential tax transparency requirement is on sound legal foundation.

    1) The core justification for such a law is provided by the Emoluments Clause (Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 ) of the US. constitution. The clause states “No Person holding any Office of…Trust, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument…from any …foreign State.” This requirement is on sound constitutional footing by ensuring transparency for this clause.

    2) This requirement is likely constitutional (according to at least one AG and numerous legal scholars) as it is merely an extension of the existing 1978 Ethics in Government Act that requires financial disclosure and which was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court in 1988.

    3) Presidential tax returns transparency is not novel or unduly-burdensome – Presidents have been required to release financial disclosure files since the 1978 Ethics in Gov’t Act, which was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court in 1988.

    4) There is a long tradition of this constitutional precedent – 46 years of tradition dating back to Richard Nixon releasing his returns in 1973.

    5) This requirement is non-partisan – The measure is politically neutral; affecting all candidates who wish to appear on a primary or general election ballot in the state equally.

    Visit presidentialtransparency.org to assist in the passage of this and other similar state laws.

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