President Trump Would Rather Sue California Than Release His Tax Returns
With just months to spare before the 2020 election, California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that would require presidential candidates to publicly release the last five years of their taxes in order to be eligible to take up space on the state primary ballot. The move turns what had been largely accepted tradition into law. In 2016, Trump was the first to refuse to release his tax returns in nearly half a century. The Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act is the latest move by the Democratic party to force Trump’s hand in revealing his tax returns.
One week later, Trump filed a lawsuit against the state of California to challenge the law as adding an “unconstitutional qualification” to the pre-determined qualifications for the presidency.
Newsom tweeted directly at Trump saying, “There’s an easy fix Mr. President – release your tax returns as you promised.”
“Follow the precedent of every president since 1973,” he concluded.
“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 after signing the bill.
The measure is meant to create transparency around a candidate’s “influence from domestic and foreign business interest.”
During Trump’s campaign, he had cited an IRS audit as the reason he couldn’t release his taxes. Law experts have called the excuse “hogwash” and just a pitiful attempt to dodge accountability. Trump sold himself to Americans as a self-made billionaire. He should want to back up that claim. In the years since investigative journalists at The New York Times have tried to drudge up some semblance of the truth. It’s appeared that Trump has filed for bankruptcy numerous times, raising suspicions of either tax evasion or a highly aggrandized account of his own wealth.
Former Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill in 2017, as a “slippery slope” toward unprecedented asks of candidates.
“Today we require tax returns, but what would be next?” Brown had asked. “Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power?”
The constitutionality of Newsom’s bill will likely be decided in the Supreme Court.
Legal expert Rick Hasen of UC Irvine has similar concerns to Gov. Brown. If the state law is constitutional, “we might see a race to the bottom whereby other states enact ballot access requirements, such as a requirement for candidates to produce a birth certificate, which could affect which candidates can run in which states,” he told CNN.
Trump’s attorneys have been blocking access to his tax returns at all access points in recent weeks.
House Democrats have filed for a release of his tax returns from Trump’s companies’ banks, his accounting firm and from members of his family. His legal team is hard at work to make sure Trump’s tax returns never see the light of day.
Of course, Trump has tweeted his opposition to California’s new law, making Twitter the vehicle for civil discourse.
He followed up the above tweet with a claim of “Just more of the record setting Presidential Harassment. Don’t feel badly, New York State is far worse!” Guess Trump never learned that #PresidentialHarassment for many sounds more like “grab ’em by the pussy.”
Californians are taking to Twitter to remind Trump that he didn’t care about Californian Republicans when the state was on fire.
“Since when did YOU give a d*** about California? You told them to go rake,” comments one Twitter user. Many voters have a deep-seated mistrust of Trump after Russia interfered in the 2016 election that granted Trump the presidency. Under most other employment laws, Trump likely would have been fired for sexual harassment, ethnic discrimination and more. This user simply wants to see Trump held accountable to the same standards as previous presidents.
Others are taking the opportunity to call Congress to #ImpeachDonaldTrumpNOW.
If you pay your taxes, there’s really nothing to hide. America wants to know what Trump is trying to hide from the American people. If we’re all paying taxes that he’s circumvented, it makes it difficult to trust that he will understand the value and worth of our dollars. You can’t cheat the system and then be trusted to run it.
The Republican National Committee and Republican Party of California have filed a similar lawsuit against California.
They say the bill takes away voting rights from Trump’s supporters. We’ll see whether the judge believes that it’s actually Trump who is taking away voting rights from Trump supporters by withholding his tax returns or not.
In the meantime, Trump supporters will have to plan on writing his name in the box.