Judge Blocks CA Law Requiring Presidential Candidates to Disclose Tax Returns – How Does Arizona Compare?

A federal district court judge in California tentatively ruled yesterday that California may not require a presidential candidate to disclose his or her tax returns to the California Secretary of State as a condition of gaining ballot access to run in the state’s presidential primary election. In stark contrast, Arizona has shown little appetite to add any vigorous requirements to run for president here.

California recently passed SB27, the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act, which would require presidential candidates to disclose 5 years of tax returns to appear on the California presidential primary ballot. Five separate lawsuits were filed seeking to enjoin the new law, one of which was filed by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. The President’s motion for preliminary injunction argued that SB27 violated the Qualifications Clause of the U.S. Constitution, violated the First Amendment, and was preempted by the federal Ethics in Government Act.  Following oral argument yesterday, the district court granted the plaintiffs’ motions for preliminary injunction and plans to issue a written ruling by October 1st.

Don’t expect similar litigation here because Arizona has no financial disclosure requirements whatsoever for presidential candidates. Even the financial disclosure statement required for state and legislative candidates is not required.  Candidates need only file a “Nomination Paper & Notice of Candidacy” with the Arizona Secretary of State.  The nomination paper merely requires that a presidential candidate certify that he or she meets the constitutional requirements to hold the office of President, but seeks no financial information.

Arizona’s bar to entry is thus very low for presidential candidates – but it does have the advantage of being constitutional.

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