California lawmakers' previous efforts to force presidential candidates to release their tax returns may have failed in 2017, but some are apparently banking on the state's new, far-left governor seeing things their way.
According to a report from The Associated Press, the California state Senate voted 27-10 on Thursday to require any candidates appearing on the state's presidential primary ballot to publicly release five years' worth of income tax returns.
While the bill would apply to any candidate on a California primary ballot, it's not at all difficult to figure out who the measure is specifically aimed at — President Donald Trump. In order to appear on the ballot for the March 3, 2020, Republican primary election, he would have to finally cave to longstanding calls for him to publicly release his tax information.
"We believe that President Trump, if he truly doesn't have anything to hide, should step up and release his tax returns," said Democratic state Sen. Mike McGuire, who cosponsored the bill.
A previous effort to compel tax information from presidential candidate was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2017.
"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," read a veto message from Brown's office. "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?"
Brown, however, left office in January and was replaced by the further-left Gavin Newsom (D), who has proudly taken up the mantle of being part of, and even leading, the national anti-Trump "resistance" movement. The new governor, however, has not yet said whether or not he would sign a the bill.
President Trump has long ignored calls to voluntarily release his tax returns and currently finds himself in a fight against House Democrats' attempts to obtain them without his consent.
The president has repeatedly said that he doesn't want to release his tax information until he is no longer under audit.
"I'm always under audit it seems, but I've been under audit for many years because the numbers are big and I guess when you have a name, you are audited," Trump told reporters back in early April when asked about House Democrats' recent efforts. "But until such time as I'm not under audit, I would not be inclined to do that."