San Francisco — RNC National Committeewoman and Vice President of the Republican National Lawyers Association, Harmeet K. Dhillon, issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit filed by three Republican voters, the RNC, and the CAGOP against Cal. Elections Code §§ 6880-84, which her firm filed today in federal court.
“We will not allow California’s Democrats to use the state’s voters as pawns in their petty political vendettas to trample all over the Constitution,” Dhillon said. “This law is a cynical and illegal voter suppression scheme whose sole purpose is to deny California voters their Constitutionally protected right to vote for qualified candidates for President, and to suppress the Republican vote in California not just for President but also for all the down-ticket races, ballot measures, and power grabs the Democrats have in store for the 2020 ballot.”
Information released via the Republican National Committee.
On July 30, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 27, by Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), which requires a candidate for U.S. President or California Governor to file copies of every income tax return filed with the Internal Revenue Service in the five most recent taxable years with the Secretary of State, at least 98 days prior to the corresponding primary election.
The move comes after 2-years earlier, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill saying:
To the Members of the California State Senate:
I am returning Senate Bill 149 without my signature.
This bill requires any candidate for president to disclose five years of his or her income tax returns before their name can be placed on California’s primary election ballot.
Although tax returns are by law confidential, many presidential candidates have voluntarily released them. This bill is a response to President Trump’s refusal to release his returns during the last election.
While I recognize the political attractiveness-even the merits-of getting
President Trump’s tax returns, I worry about the political perils of individual states seeking to regulate presidential elections in this manner. First, it may not be constitutional. Second, it sets a “slippery slope” precedent. Today we require tax returns, but what would be next? 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?
A qualified candidate’s ability to appear on the ballot is fundamental to our democratic system. For that reason, I hesitate to start down a road that well might lead to an ever escalating set of differing state requirements for presidential candidates.
Edmund G. Brown Jr.