New Jersey is moving forward with legislation that would keep President Donald Trump off the ballot unless he lets New Jersey put his tax returns online.
A committee of the New Jersey legislature last week approved a bill requiring that candidates for president and vice president submit their federal income tax returns to the state Division of Elections.
The proposal also seeks to ban any of New Jersey’s electors in the Electoral College from voting for a candidate for president or vice president who has not followed the law, Patch reported.
According to the legislation, candidates would have to share their tax returns for the past five years no later than 50 days before the election. The state would then have seven days to process the returns before they are put online. The bill gives the state discretion to redact information it believes should be kept private.
In 2017, a similar bill went as far as the governor’s office. Then-Gov Chris Christie vetoed it, calling the proposal a “transparent political stunt masquerading as a bill” and “politics at its worst,” according to Patch.
Christie has since left office and was replaced by Democrat and Trump critic Gov. Phil Murphy.
The root of the matter is that Trump, contrary to custom, has not released his tax returns, saying they are being audited. Trump is not required to release his taxes.
New Jersey state Sen. Sam Thompson, a Republican, said he abstained on the recent committee vote because he questions “the constitutionality of each individual state inputting their own requirements” for the presidential election, Politico reported.
Trump supporters are unlikely to see such attempts as anything but attacks on the president himself.
The enemies of the #MAGA hat hate America.
↪️They hate our President the @realDonaldTrump.
↪️They hate our history.
↪️They hate our children, even the unborn.
↪️They hate our religion ⛪.
↪️They hate our Constitution.
↪️They hate our Flag 🇺🇸.
— 🧱🇺🇸 Noel Jensen 🇺🇸🧱 (@TW_1222) February 5, 2019
However, constitutional questions have not stopped other states from trying to pass laws to get Trump’s tax returns.
California is also considering a measure similar to the one moving through the New Jersey legislature, Sacramento’s KOVR reported.
House Democrats will begin their effort to get their hands on Trump’s tax returns later this week, according to The Washington Post.
Democratic Georgia Congressman John Lewis will lead a hearing of a House Ways and Means subcommittee titled “Legislative Proposals and Tax Law Related to Presidential and Vice-Presidential Tax Returns,” the newspaper reported.
Democratic Reps. Anna Eshoo of California and Bill Pascrell of New Jersey have said Trump’s refusal to release his returns means voters are “in the dark about the extent of his financial entanglements and potential conflicts of interest.”
“We look forward to using this first hearing to discussing the critical importance of full tax disclosure for any man or woman seeking the presidency,” they said in a joint statement reported by The Post.
However, Politico reported Tuesday that the Treasury Department is likely to resist Democratic attempts to obtain the records.
— The Hill (@thehill) February 5, 2019
House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts said he is building a case to use a 1924 tax law as the tool to get Trump’s taxes, CNN reported last week.
“Well, actually (the) legal case is being prepared and (we are) doing it quite judiciously. (Choosing) our words methodically,” he said, according to CNN.
“This is the beginning of a court case. I think the idea here is to avoid the emotion of the moment and make sure that the product stands up under critical analysis. And it will.”
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