Future presidential candidates may soon be required to release their tax returns if they want to get on the ballot in California.
Senate Bill 149, which was introduced as a direct rebuke of President Trump’s refusal to release his most recent tax returns, passed California’s State Assembly on Thursday, having already passed the Senate. SB 149 will now head to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk following a procedural vote.
SB 149, which the state Senate approved in May, would require all presidential candidates to share their tax returns from the last five years before being eligible to appear on California’s ballot. California’s Secretary of State would then publish a redacted copy of the candidate’s tax returns online. In a transparent jab at Trump, the bill’s text specifies that tax returns are vital to assessing a candidate’s potential conflicts of interest:
The Legislature also finds and declares that a Presidential candidate’s income tax returns provide voters with essential information regarding the candidate’s potential conflicts of interest, business dealings, financial status, and charitable donations. The information in tax returns therefore helps voters to make a more informed decision. The Legislature further finds and declares that as one of the largest centers of economic activity in the world, the State of California has a special interest in the President refraining from corrupt or self-enriching behaviors while in office.
Democratic Senator Mike McGuire, who co-authored the bill, said in a statement that SB 149 restores necessary transparency to presidential elections. “President Trump’s blatant disregard for the tradition of releasing tax returns is dangerous to our democracy,” McGuire said in a statement. “SB 149 helps to reestablish desperately needed transparency in the White House, and we are looking forward to seeing the Governor’s signature on the bill.”
Given Gov. Brown’s scathing criticism of Trump and the state’s commitment to impeding his agenda, there’s a good chance he will sign the legislation.
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