California Governor Gavin Newson on Tuesday signed a bill that requires a candidate for president or governor to release five years of their tax returns in order to appear on state ballots, a move President Donald Trump’s campaign immediately blasted.
The Trump campaign communications director, Tim Murtaugh, claimed the measure was unconstitutional.
“There are very good reasons why the very liberal Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed this bill two years ago — it’s unconstitutional and it opens up the possibility for states to load up more requirements on candidates in future elections. What’s next, five years of health records?” he said in a statement to The Hill. “The Constitution is clear on the qualifications for someone to serve as president and states cannot add additional requirements on their own.”
Murtaugh also said that the bill was in violation of the First Amendment’s right of association as California cannot “tell political parties which candidates their members can or cannot vote for in a primary election.”
Trump attorney Jay Sekulow noted that a legal challenge to the bill was sure to follow, saying California’s “attempt to circumvent the Constitution will be answered in court.”
The State Assembly and Senate approved the legislation earlier this month before Governor Newson signed it, saying that it would help ensure that “leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards.”
According to Newson, the bill would restore public confidence and “shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest.”
The legislation comes at a time when President Trump and Democrats are embroiled in a legal fight over his tax returns, which he has yet to release, becoming the first major-party presidential candidate in the last four decades to keep their returns private.