California's Brown Vetoes Requirement that Presidential Candidates Release Tax Returns

Posted by Dale Eisman on October 16, 2017

California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have required President Trump and other presidential candidates to disclose their income tax returns in advance of the 2020 presidential election.

"Today we require tax returns, but what would be next?" Brown wrote in a veto message released Sunday. "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?"

The vetoed bill would have required disclosure as a condition for placing a candidate’s name on the California ballot.

Trump last year became the first major party presidential nominee in decades to refuse to disclose his returns. He argued that a financial disclosure statement already required by federal law gives voters all the information about his finances they should need. The form is far less detailed than a tax return, however.

Trump initially said he would release the returns once the Internal Revenue Service completes auditing them. Since taking office however, the president has insisted the returns will remain private and that only reporters are interested in seeing them.

"This bill is about giving the American people the honesty and transparency they deserve from anyone who wishes to serve as their president," state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, the bill's coauthor, said shortly after it passed the Legislature.

The Los Angeles Times reported that most Republicans derided the bill as little more than an attempt to embarrass Trump. They pointed out Brown failed to release copies of his tax returns during campaigns for governor in 2010 and 2014 and that he released only part of his tax returns during his third unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 1992.

Office: California Common Cause, Common Cause National

Issues: Money in Politics

Tags: Disclosure

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