As much as California Gov. Gavin Newsom is positioned as one of the nation’s leading antagonists of President Donald Trump, even he admits a bill requiring candidates’ tax returns is “an open-ended question” on constitutionality, Politico reported.
Gov. Newsom is “deeply analyzing” the bill, according to the report, which requires presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release their tax returns to appear on the ballot in the state – although the legislation focuses on primaries. He has until Tuesday to decide whether to sign the California Democratic-led legislation and has not offered “any indication” what he will do, per Politico.
“Some may see it as symbolic – I think it now appears to be much more substantive,” Newsom told Politico. “At the end of the day, the president will end up on the November ballot regardless, and the likelihood of the taxes being released is questionable.”
The state’s previous governor, Jerry Brown, had taken the position requiring the release of tax returns is a slippery slope of constitutionality that could lead to requirements of birth certifications, health records, or report cards – a level California Democrats might not be willing to go even in the fight against President Trump – according to Politico.
“It’s really going to gin up the Trump base, which could affect congressional candidates and legislative candidates [in California],” ex-Gov. Brown’s former adviser Dana Williamson told Politico. “From a purely political standpoint, the benefits don’t outweigh the risks.”
Democrats in the deep-blue state of California, which President Trump is unlikely to win, might just be hurting themselves in the future. But Gov. Newsom might still be willing to fight President Trump to score points with his own base, according to the report.
“Politically, this is a winner for Gavin Newsom,” former Newsom press secretary Nathan Ballard told Politico. “He’s established himself as one of the leading voices against Donald Trump in the United States, and this will only further his reputation as someone who’s willing to stand up to President Trump and the aroma of corruption that surrounds him.”
Even if the courts shoot down the legislation, Gov. Newsom might get the boost on carrying through on President Trump resistance.
“It’s kind of a freebie,” Claremont McKenna College professor Jack Pitney, a never-Trumper, told Politico. “He takes credit for taking a stand against Trump, knowing the courts will strike it down.”
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