SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A candidate running for President of the United States wouldn’t get his or her name on a California primary ballot unless he or she files 5 years worth of income tax returns with the Secretary of State, if a new bill gets signed into law.
Senators Mike McGuire (D-2nd District) and Scott Wiener (D-11th District) introduced Senate Bill 27 on Monday and dubbed it the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act.
If passed, once the 5 most recent tax returns are filed with the Secretary of State’s office, the forms would be redacted and then made available on that agency’s website.
This bill is a response to the last Presidential election.
“The Legislature finds and declares that the State of California has a strong interest in ensuring that its voters make informed, educated choices in the voting booth. To this end, the state has mandated that extensive amounts of information be provided to voters, including county and state voter information guides. The Legislature also finds and declares that a Presidential candidate’s income tax returns provide voters with essential information regarding the candidate’s potential conflicts of interest, business dealings, financial status, and charitable donations. The information in tax returns therefore helps voters to make a more informed decision. The Legislature further finds and declares that as one of the largest centers of economic activity in the world, the State of California has a special interest in the President refraining from corrupt or self-enriching behaviors while in office. The people of California can better estimate the risks of any given Presidential candidate engaging in corruption or the appearance of corruption if they have access to candidates’ tax returns. Finally, the State of California has an interest in ensuring that any violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution or statutory prohibitions on behavior such as insider trading are detected and punished. Mandated disclosure of Presidential candidates’ tax returns will enable enforcement of the laws against whichever candidate is elected President. The Legislature finds and declares that compliance costs with this requirement will be trivial.”
The bill doesn’t list a date a candidate must file his or her tax returns by in order to have his or her name appear on the primary ballot.
The intention is to have this bill in place by the 2020 Presidential primaries.
In the 2016 election, California had 172 Republican delegates and 551 Democratic delegates (475 pledged and 76 unpledged). The Republican delegates were pledged to support now-President Donald Trump after he won the primary with 74.7% of the vote. John Kasich came in second carrying 11.4% of the vote. In order to secure the Republican nomination for president, a candidate needed to secure a simple majority (1,237) of the 2,472 total delegates. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton won California’s primary with 53.07% of the vote and secured 320 delegates (254 pledged and 66 unpledged). Senator Bernie Sanders got 46.04% of the vote and earned 221 delegates (221 pledged and 0 unpledged). In 2016, the Democratic candidate for president needed 2,382 of the parties 4,763 delegates to win the nomination.