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

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.

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

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

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.