Published: Thu, August 08, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump sues over Calif. law forcing candidates to release tax returns

Trump sues over Calif. law forcing candidates to release tax returns

The Trump campaign and Republican Party sued California Tuesday over a new law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns to run in the state's primary.

Four California voters represented by Judicial Watch have sued the state after Gov. Gavin Newsom signs a bill requiring presidential candidates to release at least 5 years of tax returns to appear on the state primary ballot; William La Jeunesse reports.

The lawsuit, filed by Trump's personal lawyers in federal court in Sacramento, argues the statute signed into law last week is unconstitutional because it sets up illegal new rules governing who can seek the presidency.

"California politicians, in their zeal to attack President Trump, passed a law that also unconstitutionally victimizes California voters", Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a release announcing the lawsuit. Two other legal challenges preceded the one by Trump and his 2020 reelection campaign, and all of the lawsuits have struck a similar theme by insisting California can not impose limits on ballot access for presidential hopefuls. The suits claim the law suppress the votes of millions of Californians, while the RNC asserts Newsom, who signed the law in July, was creating an "extra-constitutional qualification for the office of president".

"The effort to deny California voters the opportunity to cast a ballot for President Trump in 2020 will clearly fail", Sekulow said.

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The president has steadfastly refused to offer the public a glimpse of his annual income tax filings with the Internal Revenue Service, frequently insisting that he can not do so while the returns were the subject of an IRS audit.

The law states the California Legislature "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".

Sighting similar reasons to the Judicial Watch lawsuit, Former California Gov. Additionally, the the state Republican Party and its chairwoman, Jessica Patterson, filed a writ with the California Supreme Court asking that SB 27 be declared unconstitutional. That could hurt the party's chances of being in the general election in some races, given California's top-two primary system that sends the two highest vote getters in the primary to the general election regardless of party.

Called the California Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act, the law was seen as a direct shot at Trump's reelection bid.

"Today we have taken decisive action in federal court challenging California's attempt to circumvent the U.S. Constitution", Sekulow said in a statement. Every president has released his or her tax returns since the early 1970s.

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