In an unprecedented move that is almost certain to spark a high-profile court fight and might encourage other states to pile on with similar measures, the state of California just passed a law making President Donald Trump ineligible for California’s primary ballot next year unless he discloses his tax returns, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The law, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday, requires all presidential candidates to submit five years of income tax filings. They must do so by late November in order to secure a spot on California’s presidential primary ballot in March. State elections officials will post the financial documents online, although certain private information must first be redacted.
“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 that accompanied his signature on the bill approved by the Legislature earlier this month.
“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,” he added. “The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest.”
Trump, who is not singled out by the law but is clearly its inspiration, is likely to fight back.
Last week, Trump sued to stop the House of Representatives from obtaining a copy of his New York state returns, made available under a bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this month.
One thing is certain: there’s something in Trump’s tax returns that he doesn’t want Americans to see.