Governor Gavin Newsom signed the legislation in July, which would require any candidate for governor or President of the United States to deliver their tax returns 98 days before the election. The penalty for refusing would be the disqualification of the candidate.
There is no doubt that it was designed to either sneakily get the president’s tax returns, or prevent him from being on the ballot, but District Court Judge Morrison England Jr. the law would cause candidates candidates “irreparable harm without temporary relief,” and he blocked it with a temporary injunction.
England stated that his final decision would be coming soon.
And, the law on is President Trump’s side.
Basically, what California is doing is trying to dictate their individual restrictions upon a federal election… that’s ridiculous.
The bill, SB 27, or the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act 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.
Trump sued in August to try to block the law and four other suits were filed by others, including former presidential candidate Roque de la Fuente.
England, who was nominated by former President George W. Bush, spent much of the time in court talking about whether a federal law, known as the Ethics In Government Act, would preempt the new law, reported the Los Angeles Times.
California Deputy Atty. Gen. Peter Chang tried arguing that “the voters need” the financial information “to elect their executives” but Thomas McCarthy, an attorney representing the president, said states cannot try altering the guidelines for presidential candidates outlined in the U.S. Constitution.
England suggested states making different laws for candidates creates confusion, wondering at one point: “Wouldn’t that create a hodgepodge of laws around the country?”
A bevy of Trump opponents have launched efforts to get the president to disclose his tax returns but none so far have been successful. One of the latest, from the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., was challenged by a lawsuit from Trump on Thursday.
Newsom said in a statement that “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.”
“The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest,” he added.
Tim Murtaugh, an official with Trump’s 2020 campaign, said at the time that the law was unconstitutional.
“The Constitution is clear on the qualifications for someone to serve as president and states cannot add additional requirements on their own,” Murtaugh said in a statement. “What’s next, five years of health records?”
He appeared to be alluding to a statement from former California Gov. Jerry Brown, who vetoed a similar bill in 2017 while in office.
“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,” Brown said at the time.
“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.”