SACRAMENTO (CBSLA) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday signed a state senate bill into law which requires presidential candidates to disclose their income tax returns to get on the primary ballot.

FILE — President Donald Trump greets California Governor-elect Gavin Newsom as he disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival at Beale Air Force Base in California on Nov. 17, 2018, as he travels to view wildfire damage. (Getty Images)

President Trump has for years famously refused to release his income tax returns, and the new legislation is sure to be challenged in federal court.

Senate Bill 27, the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act, requires that all candidates for president and governor release copies of their income tax returns going back five years. The returns must be released at least 98 days prior to the primary election.

California will hold its presidential primary election on March 3, 2020.

“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,” Newsom said in a statement. “The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest.”

“The United States Constitution grants states the authority to determine how their electors are chosen, and California is well within its constitutional right to include this requirement,” the statement went on.

In October of 2017, then Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill. At the time, Brown was concerned that the bill may be unconstitutional.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for President Trump’s reelection campaign, wrote:

“The Constitution is clear on the qualifications for someone to serve as president and states cannot add additional requirements on their own. The bill also violates the 1st Amendment right of association, since California can’t tell political parties which candidates their members can or cannot vote for in a primary election.”


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