Fri, Jul

Don’t Expect to See Trump’s Taxes, CA’s Attempt at Disclosure is in Trouble

CAL MATTERS-Legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom primarily aimed at requiring Donald Trump to disclose his tax returns before being placed on the March 3 primary ballot appears to be in jeopardy. 

All seven California Supreme Court justices pointedly questioned Deputy Attorney General Jay Russell, as he sought to defend the Democratic-backed legislation in oral arguments in Sacramento on Wednesday. (Photo above: Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye at oral arguments over California’s attempt to force Donald Trump to disclose his tax returns (photo by Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Justice Ming Chin: “Where does it end? Do we get all high school report cards? Do we get certified birth certificates? Do we get five years of medical records?”

  • Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed similar legislation in 2017, warning that other states might require birth certificates, health records, or high school report cards.
  • Newsom said upon signing the bill in July: “The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interests.”

Sacramento attorney Thomas Hiltachk, representing California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson, argued Senate Bill 27 violates the U.S. Constitution, and a 1972 state constitutional amendment that says the primary ballot must include all recognized presidential candidates.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye asked Russell: ”We’ve searched the record to determine whether or not the California Legislature even considered the California Constitution in the drafting of SB 27. We didn’t find anything. Did you?”

There wasn’t.

What’s next: The justices must act within 90 days. If the GOP prevails, its attorneys will seek attorneys fees. A separate suit over the law is pending in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

(This piece was posted originally at CalMatters.org.)