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California governor approves bill forcing Trump to show tax returns before he can appear on ballot

California governor approves bill forcing Trump to show tax returns before he can appear on ballot
Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that will require President Trump to release his tax returns before he can appear on the state’s 2020 presidential primary ballot.

Signed Tuesday, the “Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act,” or Senate Bill 27, will order any candidate running for president or governor in California to turn over their last five years of tax returns to the Secretary of State.

Governor Newsom said in a statement that California had a “special responsibility” to ensure the information was made public, citing the state’s disproportionate number of the country’s voters.

“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’s statement said, adding the bill would help to “shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest.”

The legislation also contains an “urgency clause” which will cause it to take effect immediately.

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The White House is expected to challenge the new legislation in the courts; however, President Trump could also avoid the tax returns stipulation by simply skipping California’s primary altogether, as the state’s electoral college is not likely to cast votes in favor of the president regardless.

California’s first attempt to pass similar legislation failed in 2017, after then-Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill.

“Today we require tax returns, but what would be next?” Brown wrote in his veto message. “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?”

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President Trump has long come under attack by Democratic opponents over a lack of transparency with his tax returns, having only publicized select years during the 2016 presidential election.

On Monday, in a legal proceeding launched by the Democrat-controlled House Ways and Means Committee earlier this month, a district court ordered the president and the committee to come to a “compromise” on the tax returns controversy. They are expected to produce a progress report by Tuesday evening.

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