Trump can either release his taxes or not appear on the California primary ballot, according to a new law.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed a new law on Tuesday requiring all candidates who want to appear on the ballot for California's primary election to publicly release five years of taxes.
The new law applies to presidential candidates as well as those running to be governor of California.
"As one of the largest economies in the world and home to one in nine Americans eligible to vote, California has a special responsibility to require this information of presidential and gubernatorial candidates," Newsom said in a statement.
The Los Angeles Times notes that the new law will likely face legal challenges. If it survives those challenges, the law will be in effect for California's 2020 presidential primary, which takes place in March. The law applies only to primary elections, and would not impact the general election ballot in November 2020.
"The United States Constitution grants states the authority to determine how their electors are chosen, and California is well within its constitutional right to include this requirement," Newsom added.
Nothing in the law or Newsom's statement calls out Trump by name, even though Trump bucked decades of tradition by first promising to and subsequently refusing to release his tax returns prior to the 2016 election. Congress is engaged in a legal battle to obtain six years of Trump's personal and business tax returns, with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin refusing to follow the law and hand the returns over to Congress.
Trump is already wildly unpopular in California, with almost two-thirds of the state disapproving of his job performance.
If Trump refuses to release his taxes, he stands to lose California's estimated 172 delegates, according to Ballotpedia. Republican Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts, has announced he is challenging Trump for the Republican nomination, and he could pick up a hefty number of delegates from California if Trump doesn't make it on the ballot.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.