New Jersey state legislators are reportedly threatening to withhold President Donald Trump’s name on the 2020 ballot if he refuses to release his tax returns, according to a report.
The state Senate passed a resolution Thursday that would leave off the names of candidates for president who are unwilling to make their tax returns public, according to NorthJersey.com. A similar effort was devised in 2017, but then-Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill calling it a “transparent political stunt,” squashing Democrat hopes.
New Jersey would become the first state to enact such a measure should the be approved by the Assembly and Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. At least 30 other states have launched efforts to pass similar legislation, but none have become law.
These actions, primarily under the direction of Democratic lawmakers, were sparked after then-candidate Trump turned down requests to publish his tax returns, hindering the public’s ability to glimpse his personal finances.
“It is so obvious with this president that had voters known some of what seem to be his business interests, he may not have been elected president,” Democratic state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a sponsor of the legislation, told the Courier-Post.
The law raises questions about whether it violates aspects of the U.S. Constitution. Proponents of the bill argue that states have the right to regulate their ballot requirements under the Constitution.
“It sends a message that states can tamper with the ballot in any way that pleases the majority party politically, and taxpayers will be the ones who pay the price when this ends up in court,” Republican state Sen. Joe Pennacchio said in a statement.
Pennacchio says that the bill should instead be targeted at all elected officials, rather than merely spotlighting the presidency.
“If this really is about making sure voters are well-informed, then common sense dictates that S-119 should apply to all of us,” Pennacchio continued.
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