A Los Angeles resident filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging the legality of a newly signed state law that requires presidential candidates to release their tax returns from the past five years before they can appear on the California ballot.
Timothy D. Lykins, described as a Republican voter, claims in the lawsuit that SB 27 “violates the voting and associational rights of Mr. Lykins and other Republican primary voters by imposing an unreasonable condition for ballot access on their chosen primary presidential candidate, Donald Trump, the incumbent president of the United States.”
The suit asks that a judge declare that the law — signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on July 30 — violates the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Attorneys said they plan to seek an injunction blocking the enforcement of the law.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Los Angeles. A similar lawsuit was filed in federal court in Sacramento by the conservative group Judicial Watch, which claims its clients include Republican, Democrat and Independent voters.
SB 27 requires candidates for U.S. president and California governor to provide copies of their five most recent tax returns with the California Secretary of State’s office. The law was aimed at Trump, who has been criticized by Democrats for refusing to release copies of his tax returns.
Former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a previous version of the law, suggesting the requirement may be unconstitutional.
Newsom, however, strongly backed the measure.
“These are extraordinary times and states have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards, and to restore public confidence,” Newsom wrote when he signed the bill. “The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing or influence from domestic and foreign business interest. 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.”
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