Bill requiring Trump to release taxes to make CA ballot awaits decision by Newsom

When Gov. Gavin Newsom got back from his vacation last week, awaiting him was a bill that some see as a principled attempt to force President Donald Trump to be transparent about his personal finances and that others – including California’s last governor – see as partisan meddling that could haunt elections across the nation going forward.

Senate Bill 27 was enrolled and sent to the governor’s office on July 15 after passing the Senate 29-10 and the Assembly 57-17 along party lines. Newsom has until July 30 to act on it. Introduced by Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, it would require presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release their most recent five years of tax returns as a prerequisite for appearing on the California ballot.

McGuire and Wiener reject the characterization that it is an attempt to punish Trump, who has famously feuded with California officials via the media and in court since he began his presidential campaign in 2015. Instead, they say it is an attempt to preserve democratic norms by ensuring that voters know about candidates’ financial entanglements before they become U.S. president or governor of the nation’s richest, most populous state.

It’s unclear, however, whether the measure is constitutional. Some attorneys say the Constitution has long enshrined states’ rights, including partial sovereignty, on many fronts. But the U.S. Supreme Court has held that a state cannot add additional qualifications for candidates for federal office. California’s legislative counsel cited this history in a 2017 opinion raising doubts about whether Trump could be compelled to release his taxes as a precondition of getting on the Golden State’s ballot.

Brown vetoed similar bill, cited bad precedent

In vetoing similar legislation in 2017, Brown not only questioned its constitutionality, he worried about the precedent it would set in his veto message.

“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?” he wrote. California’s enactment would start the U.S. “down a road that well might lead to an ever escalating set of differing state requirements for presidential candidates.”

There is a recent precedent for a state seeking to limit a sitting president’s access to the ballot. In 2011, the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature responded to unsupported, much-ridiculed claims that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya or Indonesia by passing a measure requiring that presidential candidates provide birth certificates before they could be placed on subsequent presidential ballots. The validity of the birth certificates would have been determined by the Arizona secretary of state.

But GOP Gov. Jan Brewer, a former Arizona secretary of state, vetoed the bill. “I do not support designating one person as the gatekeeper to the ballot for a candidate, which could lead to arbitrary or politically motivated decisions,” she said.

Axios reported last month that lawmakers in 25 states have introduced bills linking ballot eligibility to presidential candidates releasing their tax returns. The Nexis news database shows California to be the only state that has sent such a measure to the governor. The most progress elsewhere appears to be in Rhode Island and Maryland, where the state Senates have given their approval to such legislation.


Write a comment
    DONALD MOOTS 26 July, 2019, 12:10

    Would it make a difference if PRESIDENT TRUMP wasn’t on the CA ballot? With the Dems adding votes after the election is over he can’t win any way. I would like to know if I could vote in another state?

    Reply this comment
    • Joe
      Joe 26 July, 2019, 13:16

      Yup, the DemoRats have total control of the Senate, the Assembly and every state-wide office and with each election they gain even more control.

      Reply this comment
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer 27 July, 2019, 09:25

      Sure you can. Just move there.

      Reply this comment
  2. LB1
    LB1 26 July, 2019, 13:38

    Get off of it you idiots. You lost the damn election and you can not stand it. Ca has more problems than you can shake a stick at and you want revenge over Trump winning. Every state and city that a Demo-RAT is running is a $hit hole and getting worse by the day . We want you gone Newsom and we are in the process of achieving that. For the rest of you Mentally Ill so called leaders in Sacramento we have a message for all of you. WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE !!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer 27 July, 2019, 09:27

      How are you in the process of getting rid of the Governor? It must be something very stealth or completely ineffective

      Reply this comment
      • Jay Bird
        Jay Bird 30 July, 2019, 17:40

        Gavin Newsom is a very delusional and insecure individual. Does he lack the brains to realize that this unconstitutional?

        Reply this comment
        • Queeg
          Queeg 30 July, 2019, 18:04

          Comrade jay bird

          You best learn breathing exercises….they have just got it going-

          Reply this comment
    • Ulysses Uhaul
      Ulysses Uhaul 27 July, 2019, 17:24

      There are no idiots on CWD…..there is no cursing on CWD. So sad…..doomers we can transition you to better places and times……mmmmmmm. Whaaaaah.

      Reply this comment
  3. Dork
    Dork 26 July, 2019, 15:15

    What a frikkin Waste of time. Every last one these fools should have their pay docked for the time they spent on this.


    this will be shot down immediately or the States votes will be Voided for Non Compliance.

    Reply this comment
  4. California101
    California101 26 July, 2019, 18:42

    In my opinion, if thats their desire, lead by example. Any and all politicians should release their taxes. I would also like to see a chart that shows their net worth the year before they were elected, each year in office then the final when their term is completed. I would also like an Explaination as to how they get so wealthy when their salary is capped? I am especially interested in Newsom, Pelosi, Feinstien and Mad Max, heck, lets throw Kamala and the rest of em in the mix just for the fun of it😃👍🇺🇸⚔️

    Reply this comment
  5. Queeg
    Queeg 27 July, 2019, 10:01


    They have just begun-

    Soon your beloved leaders’ pictures will hang outside all DMV offices and libraries for you to revere-

    So comforting knowing they really care….about you and you and you.


    Reply this comment
  6. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 27 July, 2019, 12:18

    Minor correction: The state legislature votes in the article are reversed. The Assembly shows the State Senate votes, and vice versa.

    Fixed by Chris. Thanks, Richard.

    Reply this comment
  7. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 1 August, 2019, 16:37

    Newsom sign it we needs recall of Gavin Newsom just like we did with Grey Davis he should be arrested for Extortion

    Reply this comment
  8. Teddy Cakes Steele, Mentor
    Teddy Cakes Steele, Mentor 23 August, 2019, 19:52

    But at least we can all agree– the gop has become a cult of trump
    he’s the worst president in US history.

    in world history? Maybe…..

    Reply this comment

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Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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