Lawsuit Filed Challenging Constitutionality of California Law Requiring Trump’s Tax Returns

SAN DIEGOAug. 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, a California native and candidate for the 2020 Republican Party nomination for President of the United States, has filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court in the Southern District of California challenging California Senate Bill 27, or the so called “Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act” signed into law on July 30 by Governor Gavin Newsom.

De La Fuente, who is challenging President Trump for the 2020 Republican Presidential nomination, said,

“all Republicans must stand united in demanding that state officials be held to account when they threaten fundamental rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.”

California’s law would require presidential candidates to file their 5 most recent tax returns in order to appear on California’s presidential primary election ballot. In his pleadings, De La Fuente argues that this violates the Qualifications Clause of Article II, section 1, clause 5 of the United States Constitution and federal statutory law which guarantees that federal income tax returns remain confidential.  He also argues that this violates the First Amendment guarantee that state governments cannot force speech, even of political candidates.

De La Fuente, who prevailed in lawsuits against other states relating to unconstitutional ballot access laws and regulations during his independent bid for President in 2016 says,

“If voters want a candidate to release their tax returns, voters are free to withhold their vote from candidates who do not. Personally, as a candidate seeking the Republican nomination for President, I will be releasing my last 5 years of tax returns voluntarily. However, California’s requirement to make federal income tax returns public as a condition of ballot access is unconstitutional. It is not a valid ‘ballot access’ restriction, because it has nothing whatsoever to do with the proper regulation of the ballot, such as preventing frivolous candidates from appearing, or to ensure that elections are conducted in an orderly manner.”

In the Politico column Trump lawyer to California: See you in court Jeremy B. White reports:

President Donald Trump’s lawyers immediately signaled today they will challenge a California law requiring Trump to disclose his tax returns if he wants to appear on primary ballots in the state.

“The State of California’s attempt to circumvent the Constitution will be answered in court,” Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said in an emailed statement shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law.

California has become a theatre of the absurd.

UPDATE: (Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of four California voters to prevent the California secretary of state from implementing a new state law requiring all presidential candidates who wish to appear on California’s primary ballot to publicly disclose their personal tax returns from the past five years (Jerry Griffin et al. v. Alex Padilla (No. 2:19-cv-01477). The suit alleges that the law unconstitutionally adds a new qualification for candidates for president. Judicial Watch’s clients include a registered Independent, Republican, and Democrat California voter. Read more.

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