SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning - Excessive Heat Warning - Heat Advisory - Fire Weather Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

California governor signs bill on presidential tax returns

The U.S. Supreme court has previously halted state efforts to add ballot access rules for congressional candidates.

Posted: Jul 31, 2019 11:15 AM

By KATHLEEN RONAYNE and ADAM BEAM Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's Democratic governor signed a law Tuesday requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns to appear on the state's primary ballot, a move aimed squarely at Republican President Donald Trump.

Most of the major Democratic candidates for president have already publicly disclosed their personal income tax returns as Trump has refused to do so, breaking with decades of tradition by candidates from both parties.

The Trump campaign said the law signed by Newsom is "unconstitutional." But even if the law withstands a likely legal challenge, Trump could avoid the requirement by choosing not to compete in California's March 3rd primary.

The Republican National Committee does not require candidates to appear on primary ballots in all 50 states. With no credible GOP challenger at this point, Trump likely won't need California's delegates to win the Republican nomination. The law does not apply to the general election ballot.

Harmeet K. Dhillon, one of California's two representatives on the Republican National Committee, called the bill an "illegal voter suppression scheme." Removing Trump from the state's primary ballot would likely depress turnout from GOP voters for down-ticket races and ballot measures, she said.

Newsom, who has repeatedly sparred with Trump over immigration policy and California's troubled high-speed rail project, said the state's influence as one of the world's largest economies gives it "a special responsibility" to hold candidates to high ethical standards, including disclosing information about their personal finances.

"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," Newsom wrote in his signing statement.

While states have authority over how candidates can access their ballots, the U.S. Constitution lays out a limited set of qualifications candidates must meet to run for president, said Rick Hasen, a professor specializing in election law at the University of California-Irvine School of Law. Those qualifications include requiring presidential candidates be over age 35, born in the U.S. and live at least 14 years in the country.

The U.S. Supreme court has previously halted state efforts to add ballot access rules for congressional candidates.

The bill's author, Democratic Sen. Mike McGuire, said it would be "inconsistent" with past practice for Trump to forego the primary ballot and "ignore the most popular and vote-rich state in the nation."

In a tweet to Trump, McGuire said: "If you want to be on the CA primary ballot, release your returns. It's a low bar to hit, unless you have something to hide."

Tax returns show income, charitable giving and business dealings, all of which Democratic state lawmakers say voters are entitled to know about.

California is the first state to enact legislation compelling political candidates to disclose their personal income tax returns. New York state has passed a law giving congressional committees access to Trump's state tax returns, which Trump has challenged in court . Efforts to pry loose his tax returns have floundered in other states.

California's first attempt to force presidential candidates to reveal their tax returns failed in 2017 when then-Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, vetoed the law after raising questions about its constitutionality. Of the 18 state legislatures that introduced similar bills in 2019, 11 are still active, according to Dylan Lynch, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

California's law requires candidates 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 some personal information redacted.

The law also applies to candidates for governor. Newsom, who took office in January, released six years of his personal income tax returns prior to California's 2018 gubernatorial primary.

Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, said California's new law will bring greater transparency but could deter some candidates with complex tax returns from running for governor.

"Even if the tax returns are completely lawful, there is plenty of material for opposition researchers," he said.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 218689

Reported Deaths: 2855
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41723618
Washington27764258
Marion24459332
Clackamas19888241
Lane14804174
Jackson12522155
Deschutes1052887
Umatilla950594
Linn624882
Yamhill506281
Klamath494179
Douglas446188
Polk429357
Josephine413675
Malheur366467
Benton345322
Jefferson249342
Coos230439
Columbia208132
Union167124
Wasco154631
Lincoln153522
Crook139224
Hood River125934
Morrow122317
Clatsop116310
Baker109317
Curry77912
Tillamook7495
Grant5627
Lake4878
Harney45811
Wallowa2286
Gilliam871
Sherman862
Wheeler421
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3944933

Reported Deaths: 64386
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles129358324677
Riverside3079224659
San Bernardino3062735236
San Diego2950543798
Orange2817905143
Santa Clara1230832099
Sacramento1152001777
Kern1130711425
Fresno1044581746
Alameda958261282
Ventura835231043
San Joaquin769151460
Contra Costa75842832
Stanislaus657091091
Tulare50363854
Monterey44484528
San Mateo44477588
San Francisco40144561
Solano35703262
Santa Barbara35647467
Merced32961484
Sonoma32665330
Imperial29096745
Placer25146307
Kings23611250
San Luis Obispo21970265
Madera17024249
Santa Cruz16616207
Marin14825239
Yolo14801215
Butte13184205
Shasta12963242
El Dorado11063120
Napa1042082
Sutter10159126
Yuba698551
San Benito627463
Lassen588127
Tehama586466
Nevada535075
Humboldt504553
Mendocino468351
Tuolumne449573
Lake423865
Amador387048
Siskiyou256140
Glenn246427
Colusa235718
Calaveras230758
Del Norte16438
Inyo145338
Mono13255
Plumas7656
Modoc5737
Mariposa4987
Trinity4626
Sierra1290
Alpine890
Unassigned510
Medford
Partly Cloudy
96° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 93°
Brookings
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Crater Lake
Mostly Cloudy
96° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 93°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
96° wxIcon
Hi: 100° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 93°
Klamath Falls
Mostly Cloudy
83° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 82°
More rain and thunderstorms possible Saturday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events