California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law Tuesday requiring presidential and California gubernatorial candidates to disclose their income tax returns in order to be listed on the state’s primary ballot, reports CBS News.
Under S.B. 27, called the “Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act,” any candidate running for president or governor of California will be required to file copies of the last five years of their tax returns to the California secretary of State.
“As one of the largest economies in the world and home to one in nine Americans eligible to vote, California has a special responsibility to require this information of presidential and gubernatorial candidates,” Newsom said in a statement.
“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.”
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh called the move “unconstitutional.”
“There are very good reasons why the very liberal Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed this bill two years ago – it’s unconstitutional and it opens up the possibility for states to load up more requirements on candidates in future elections. What’s next, five years of health records?” he said.
Murtaugh said states cannot add requirements to presidential candidates’ qualifications for running.
“The Constitution is clear on the qualifications for someone to serve as president and states cannot add additional requirements on their own,” he said. “The bill also violates the 1st Amendment right of association since California can’t tell political parties which candidates their members can or cannot vote for in a primary election.”
The new law includes an “urgency clause,” meaning it would take effect immediately and force the candidates running for president in 2020 to disclose their financial statements.
Americans for Tax Fairness praised the bill as a win for transparency and accountability.
“This bill was necessary because President Donald Trump has departed from over four decades of established political tradition, respected by both Democrats and Republicans alike, by refusing to release his income tax returns,” Executive Director Frank Clemente said in a statement. “He has denied voters the opportunity to fully evaluate his fitness for the office.”