Trump Campaign Sues California Over Tax Return Release Ballot Requirement

August 6, 2019 by Dan McCue

The Trump campaign and the Republican Party sued California on Tuesday over a new law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns to run in the state’s primary.

“Today we have taken decisive action in federal court challenging California’s attempt to circumvent the U.S. Constitution,” Jay Sekulow, a member of Trump’s personal legal team, said in a statement.

“The issue of whether the President should release his federal tax returns was litigated in the 2016 election and the American people spoke. The effort to deny California voters the opportunity to cast a ballot for President Trump in 2020 will clearly fail.”   

“Legal scholars from across the political spectrum have roundly condemned this flagrantly illegal statute. We are confident the courts will as well,” Sekulow added.

The lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of California, argues the law signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom last month is unconstitutional, violating both the First Amendment and restrictions on state power.

The law requires all candidates for president to disclose the previous five years of tax returns in order to appear on the primary ballot.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly said he’d release his tax returns, but then reneged on that promise, claiming his returns are still under audit. 

The lawsuit, which names California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as defendants, claims the law is a “naked political attack against the sitting president of the United States.”

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