California Senate passes bill to keep Trump off primary ballot unless he releases tax returns

With a rip-roaring economy and presidential job approval ratings that have remained steady or even grown, despite all of the media’s negative mud-slinging, Democrats are increasingly realizing that they have their work cut out for them trying to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020.

It is perhaps with that thought in mind that California Democrats just took a step toward blocking President Trump from even appearing on the state’s 2020 election ballots if he doesn’t submit to their demands and publicly release his tax returns.

Attempt to block Trump from ballot

The California Senate passed legislation on Thursday by a vote of 27-10 that would require all presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on state primary ballots next year.

The legislation, known as SB 27, would require any candidate who wished to appear on the state’s ballots first to deliver the last five years of tax returns to the California secretary of state’s office.

The secretary’s office would reportedly work with the candidates to ensure that private and sensitive information would be redacted from those tax returns prior to being posted online publicly.

Author of bill admits Trump is target

There is no question that this legislation is squarely aimed at preventing President Trump from appearing on the ballot in the state of California, as he has unflinchingly refused to accede to Democrat demands for his tax returns, something most presidential candidates have done as a matter of practice — though without any legal requirement — for more than 40 years.

State Sen. Mike McGuire, a co-author of the bill, revealed as much when discussing the proposal said, “We believe that President Trump, if he truly doesn’t have anything to hide, should step up and release his tax returns.”

Constitutional questions remain

The Democrat-controlled state senate passed a similar bill in 2017, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown — who, it should be noted, had not released his own tax returns — on the basis of the dubious constitutionality of the requirement — or “test” — the bill would impose on candidates.

But Brown is now out of office and has been replaced by the even more anti-Trump Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom, though it is unclear if he will sign the bill into law if it ever arrives on his desk.

The constitutional questionability and overt anti-Trump angle of the bill are what compelled the 10 Republican senators to vote against the proposal.

Republican Sen. Brian Jones accurately surmised, “I get that playing the resistance card may be good politics for the majority party, but I would submit that it’s bad policy for Californians.”

Given that there is no federal statutory requirement for presidential candidates to publicly release their tax returns, and the Constitution forbids any sort of “tests” for holding office — which some observers construe this requirement to be — this putative California law could easily find its way to the Supreme Court in the near future, where a final decision would be rendered on whether releasing tax returns is an appropriate prerequisite for public office or not.

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