California Just Moved One Step Closer to Forcing Trump to Release His Taxes

Democrats want to keep the president off the ballot if he doesn’t make his records public.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

President Donald Trump could be booted from the 2020 primary ballot in California if he doesn’t release his tax returns. On Thursday, the state Senate voted 27-10 in favor of a bill that would require presidential candidates to release five years of income tax returns in order to appear on the primary ballot on March 3, 2020, according to the Associated Press. Trump, who broke 40 years of tradition by not releasing his tax returns in 2016, would not appear on the ballot unless he submitted his records to the California secretary of state.

“We believe that President Trump, if he truly doesn’t have anything to hide, should step up and release his tax returns,” said Sen. Mike McGuire, who co-authored the bill with Sen. Scott Wiener.

Former Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill in 2017, calling it unconstitutional. All 10 Republican state senators voted against the bill this week, also citing unconstitutionality. Gavin Newsom, the current Democratic governor of California who took office earlier this year, has not said whether he would veto the bill should it reach his desk. But Newsom has pledged to release his own tax returns each year he’s in office, and during the 2016 campaign he criticized Trump’s decision to withhold his tax records.

Similar bills have been introduced in Illinois, Washington, and New Jersey. California’s bill will now move to the California State Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate