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 and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

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.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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.