CA lawmakers pass bill requiring Trump, presidential candidates to release tax returns

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Thursday, July 11, 2019
CA lawmakers pass bill requiring Trump to release tax returns
California legislation that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the state's ballot has cleared a significant hurdle.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California legislation that would require presidential and state gubernatorial candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the state's ballot cleared a significant hurdle, passing the State Assembly with an overwhelming majority vote.

SB 27, co-authored by Senators Mike McGuire and Scott Wiener, was approved by the State Assembly Monday with a 57-17 vote, according to McGuire's office. It will be heard again in the State Senate this week, and if approved, will head to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature.

"Presidential candidates need to put their own interests aside in the name of transparency," McGuire's office said in a written statement. "So far, our current President has done the opposite and it's time that President Trump steps up, stops with the obstruction, and follows through with 40 years of time-honored tradition that has made this nation's democracy stronger. This commonsense legislation applies equally to all candidates, from all political parties, including the Governor of California."

In May, McGuire and Wiener amended the legislation to extend the transparency rules to the office of the Governor of California, as well as presidential candidates.

The Presidential Tax Transparency & Accountability Act will require basic tax information to be shared with California residents, and require that all presidential and gubernatorial candidates release the last five years of their tax returns in order to appear on the state ballot. The returns will be made available to the public on the Secretary of State's website, according to McGuire's office.

The measure also includes an urgency clause, which would allow the legislation to take effect immediately, prior to the filing deadline for 2020 presidential candidates.

Meanwhile, Trump's New York tax returns could be given to Congress under a new law in his home state that was signed Monday by the Democratic governor and dismissed by Republicans as a partisan game that wouldn't stand up in court.

The measure signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo directs state tax officials to share state returns of certain elected and appointed officials upon written request from the chairpersons of one of three committees: House Ways and Means, Senate Finance or Joint Committee on Taxation.

Designed to give Congress a way around the Republican president's refusal to release his returns, the new law is expected to face legal challenges. And it's unclear whether Congress will request access to Trump's state returns, which tax experts say would include many of the same details as his federal return.

Trump has long filed taxes in New York as a resident of the state. He is the first president since Watergate to decline to make his returns public, often claiming that he would release them if he were not under audit.

ABC News contributed to this story.