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California Gov. Newsom signs measure to force Trump into releasing tax returns

California Gov. Newsom signs measure to force Trump into releasing tax returns

No matter: California will ultimately help get President Trump re-elected by being an example of progressive priorities

I once noted that current California Governor Gavin Newsom would ultimately make his predecessor, Jerry Brown, look like Ronald Reagan in comparison.

Even in the grip of anti-Trump hysteria, Brown vetoed a measure that would require primary candidates to disclose tax records before they were placed on the ballot. The former governor warned that it was unconstitutional and could have painful, unintended consequences.

While I recognize the political attractiveness-even the merits-of getting President Trump’s tax returns, I worry about the political perils of individual states seeking to regulate presidential elections in this manner. First, it may not be constitutional. Second, it sets a “slippery slope” precedent. Today we require tax returns, but what would be next? 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?

A qualified candidate’s ability to appear on the ballot is fundamental to our democratic system. For that reason, I hesitate to start down a road that well might lead to an ever escalating set of differing state requirements for presidential candidates.

Newsom, on the other hand, approved the proposal known as SB 27:

President Trump will be ineligible for California’s primary ballot next year unless he discloses his tax returns under a state law that took effect immediately Tuesday, an unprecedented mandate that is almost certain to spark a high-profile court fight and might encourage other states to adopt their own unconventional rules for presidential candidates.

The law, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on the final day he could take action after it passed on a strict party-line vote in the Legislature earlier this month, requires all presidential candidates to submit five years of income tax filings. They must do so by late November to secure a spot on California’s presidential primary ballot in March. State elections officials will post the financial documents online, although certain private information must first be redacted.

…“As one of the largest economies in the world and home to one in nine Americans eligible to vote, California has a special responsibility to require this information of presidential and gubernatorial candidates,” Newsom said in a statement that accompanied his signature on the bill. “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. The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest.”

It’s all about the “transparency”:

Many analysts question the constitutionality of this move. The editors of The Orange County Register say the measure is “shallow, self-serving political nonsense” and question Sacramento’s priorities.

At a time when federal funds hang in the balance for state and local transportation projects, housing subsidies, health care, law enforcement support and disaster assistance, the governor has recklessly thrown sand into the gears of the state’s necessary working relationship with the federal government.

At a time when the state government should be focused on problems such as its underfunded state pensions, its highest-in-the-nation taxes, the loss of businesses to other states and the growing crisis of homelessness, Newsom and the Legislature are spending their time thinking about how to compel a president in the third year of his term to release his tax returns.

On the other hand, Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law Erwin Chemerinsky asserts SB 27 is completely constitutional.

In many cases, the United States Supreme Court has expressed deference to the states in deciding what qualifications to impose as a condition for being on the ballot. In Bullock vs. Carter (1972), the Court said, “Far from recognizing candidacy as a ‘fundamental right,’” state governments have authority to set conditions that must be met for a candidate to be on a ballot.

The court has put qualifications on those conditions, saying that ballot access rules are likely to be struck down if they discriminate against less affluent candidates or impose restrictions on new or small political parties. But requiring disclosure of tax returns does not run afoul of these conditions.

If this particular measure gets the blessing of the courts, I am looking forward to seeing what fun, new primary requirements will be established by our red state friends!

I predict that no matter the outcome of the legal cases that might arise from SB 27, California will ultimately help get President Trump re-elected. The state is nothing if not a shining sample of progressive priorities.


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So, don’t bother to appear on the Ballot there. No great loss. Just buy ads and appear anyway. Write-ins anyone?

    Milhouse in reply to TempeJeff. | August 5, 2019 at 11:25 am

    You seem to forget that this is only about the primary. Whoever gets the GOP nomination (which at this point is certain to be Trump) will be on the ballot in November, in CA and everywhere else. So unless there is a serious primary challenger, Trump can just ignore this.

      TempeJeff in reply to Milhouse. | August 5, 2019 at 10:16 pm

      Hmmmm… There must be 1 Member of the State Legislature that’s a Trump supporter.

      Use of Capitol Grounds

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      Trolling? You betcha’

No write ins? Sue the State for disenfranchising a minority (Republicans). Ain’t diversity grand?

And at the same time voided any Federal election votes and Secede from the United States! Good Read:

    artichoke in reply to euragone. | August 4, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    I don’t know about voiding the Constitution even if this act is unconstitutional. But to cut California off, a wall would be very hard (the distance from Yuma up the east coast of California and over to the Pacific is much longer than just from Yuma to San Diego.)

    But here’s an interesting comment from “Johnnyb” below that article:

    “I had thought that qualifications for listing a president on a ballot *was* a state issue. That is, California doesn’t get to decide who runs, but they do get to decide who appears on the ballot. There is no national location to register to be on the ballot, you do it state-by-state. As long as the state doesn’t try to influence who the electors actually vote for, I think it actually works. That is, if the Republican candidate didn’t want to disclose their tax returns, the Republican party could put a “stand-in” candidate on the ballot, and then the electors actually vote for the national candidate. As long as what California is doing is only enforcing the state-level operations, I think they actually can do this.”

1. It’s the primary ballot, which Trump can win by write-ins.
2. He would lose California in the general election, so it doesn’t matter anyway.

So it’s totally pointless, Trump loses nothing by it if he doesn’t bother to fight it, and it opens an interesting Pandora’s box for primaries that do matter in 2020, the Democratic ones for President.

    gospace in reply to artichoke. | August 4, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    California doesn’t allow write ins AFAIK.

      malclave in reply to gospace. | August 4, 2019 at 7:49 pm

      The GOP primary in California is meaningless. The presidential nominee is already decided by the time it comes around, and every other race is determined by an open primary where the two leaders to go the November ballot, regardless of party affiliation.

      Now let’s see red states require nominees qualify as Marksman with the rifle before they can go on the ballot…

        sestamibi in reply to malclave. | August 6, 2019 at 12:45 am

        California moved its primary up from June to March, so it will no longer be at the end of the line, and will have a great deal to say in the nomination process (at least on the Dem side in 2020).

Isn’t he cute?

I don’t think that unmitigated bastard has the right to deprive me of my vote. We will find out if he has the power.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Valerie. | August 4, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Or Brylcreem.

    PODKen in reply to Valerie. | August 4, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    For the electoral college CA is a winner take all state … like most. So if your vote does not go to the candidate with the majority of votes in CA … you were deprived of your vote any way.

I’ll write it in just to F with them. My rural San Diego vote is wasted in the POTUS elections anyway

    malclave in reply to Frank G. | August 4, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    A year or so ago, I changed my registration to No Party Preference so I can vote in the Democrat primary. Leaning towards Bernie right now, I think him yelling at the clouds might be a winning strategy.

      sestamibi in reply to malclave. | August 6, 2019 at 12:49 am

      California still has voter registration by party, but it is meaningless because of the “top two” primary election format, in which all candidates run for a position, and all voters of any party can vote for any of them, with the top two finishers of any party advancing to the general election. I don’t know if the presidential primary is closed, that is, open only to registered voters of that party, but if so, that would be the only reason to declare a party affiliation.

        malclave in reply to sestamibi. | August 6, 2019 at 5:29 am

        In the past, at least, the GOP was closed but the Democrats were open, so someone registered as No Party Preference could request a ballot to vote in their primary.

JusticeDelivered | August 4, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Career politicians will rarely have tax returns which could expose them and their business interests to being attacked. Business owners like Trump, are susceptible to both political and profit motive attacks. It is interesting that politicians are trying to limit political outsiders from challenging them.

I believe that America benefits from leaders who have business experience. Furthermore, I believe we need to break the backs career politicians.

speaking of CA some may find this interesting

OCR editorial board don’t lean right….just saying.

That will be an extremely uncomfortable suppository!!

Uploaded: Fri, Jan 28, 2011, 10:21 am
NASA accused of favoritism at Moffett
Report claims Google benefits from special treatment:

Four years after the surprise news that Google executives were allowed to base their private planes at Moffett Federal Airfield, there have not been similar agreements made to use the airfield as officials had promised.

Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page, co-founder Sergey Brin and chairman Eric Schmidt have the special privilege of flying in and out of Moffett Federal Airfield for business and pleasure, including trips to Tahiti,

HERE Google comps Newsom’s wedding party>>>>>> Gavin Newsom’s wedding in Montana and the Cannes Film festival.

Their growing fleet of aircraft now includes at least one helicopter, two jumbo jets and a fighter jet.

JackinSilverSpring | August 4, 2019 at 5:38 pm

What happens if the United States of America disassociates from California? DemoncRats stand a much lower probability of electing a President or choosing the Speaker of the House. I think that might be a good idea.

Here’s the silver lining. IIRC, in 2016 without CA votes being counted, Trump had more popular votes than that other candidate. But since he was on the CA ballot we had to listen to the proggies espouse their “majority” crap. Now, if he’s not on the CA ballot, and he wins, we won’t have to listen to that this time around.

laws like this make it more and more important to fill every court vacancy as soon as possible. this law so be discarded in the first court challenge.

Quick take: not sure this is a winner for D party.
Short term solution- Court challenge in federal court (DC Circuit not in CA/9th circuit).
If following appellate court win problem solved, if lose
then every ‘red’ state adopt an equally absurd requirement
not cited in Article 2. Suggest only descendents of
Revolutionary War on any Federal ballot. See how fun this
is once we start?!!
Interim solution- all Trump voters in CA use the federal write
in ballot. Look up FVAP. Those voters simply need to go to
Canada, Mexico or 200 miles off shore on the day they fill
in ballot to avoid perjury charges. Note not legal advice.
Long-term solution- Since many state governments voter registration data is compromised, flawed or out of date create a federal level voter registration for federal elections.

Could some please explain to me, as a foreigner, what the implications are of not being on the primary ballot? Does it make a difference whether someone challenges Trump for the Republican nomination?

    puhiawa in reply to mrzee. | August 4, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    What California believes is that the Democrats can then run a Democrat on the Republican ticket (this is ultimately how they took over the legislature) and he will be the candidate on the CA ballot.

    Milhouse in reply to mrzee. | August 5, 2019 at 11:29 am

    It only makes a difference if Trump gets a serious primary challenger, which seems unlikely. All this means is that if Trump chooses not to release his returns he won’t be on the ballot in the GOP primary in CA. Big deal. He will still be nominated, and will therefore be on the ballot in November, in CA and everywhere else.

      malclave in reply to Milhouse. | August 5, 2019 at 8:50 pm

      It won’t matter for 2020, but if it passes legal challenges it might prompt other socialist wannabe states to pass similar laws, which could affect future primary seasons. I think that’s what they’re after.

      Democrats, of course, would be exempt from the application of the law, since the concept of “equal protection under the law” is a fiction.

I believe it is the primary ballot. Nevertheless, The US Constitution setsforth the criteria for President. Not Gavin Newsome.

    Milhouse in reply to puhiawa. | August 5, 2019 at 11:30 am

    The US constitution doesn’t govern partisan primaries.

      Gunstar1 in reply to Milhouse. | August 5, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      Not specifically, but it still cannot violate Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The cited case in the article was about a primary and was found to be in violation of the 14th.

Cool! This would mean that states could demand original birth certificates and college records too! This is a train with no brakes!

Given that this is an unprecedented act by a state, I don’t know if this is even an option but the ultimate solution to this madness is for the feds to disqualify CA’s vote entirely in 2020. Someone introduce a resolution in Congress expressing their intention to nip this in the bud. Without CA’s vote, the Dems are out of business. Forever.

One might think that Gov. Gavin Newscum has enough problems within the state of Commiefornia to worry about,with out this.

It is only a matter of time before the law of unintended consequences comes back to bite the Democrats on this one!

As the last several sections show, a Republican can get elected President without winning California, but a Democrat can’t!

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | August 5, 2019 at 4:16 pm

Newsom is so OLD – same old Democrat crap.

Why isn’t he doing his real job?