Trump likely to win tax returns fight in California, but battles continue elsewhere
The legal battle to pry loose President Trump's tax returns appears to be headed to defeat in the California Supreme Court, while numerous other efforts continue to move forward.
According to reporting by the Sacramento Bee, a majority of the justices on Wednesday appeared to side with Republicans challenging the new state law that would force Trump to release the last five years of his tax returns in order to get on the 2020 primary ballot.
During oral arguments, several of the justices aggressively questioned an attorney representing Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
"Where does it end? Do we get all high school report cards?" asked Justice Ming Chin, according to the Bee.
If the court strikes down the law (it has 90 days to reach a decision), the state could still appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Trump was the first presidential candidate — and now president — to refuse to release his taxes since the 1970s.
Other states are considering laws similar to California's. In addition, four committees of the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives have subpoenaed Trump's tax returns and so has the Manhattan district attorney, also a Democrat. Trump is fighting all of those demands.
A provision requiring presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns was included in HR 1, the comprehensive political reform legislation that passed the House in March. The bill was the centerpiece of the Democrats' agenda when they took over the House in the 2018 election. It passed on a partisan vote but is unlikely to be considered in the GOP-controlled Senate.
Meanwhile, a federal judge said Wednesday that the House Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee had a "really strong argument" in their lawsuit seeking Trump's federal tax returns. They filed the suit after the Treasury secretary and the head of the IRS refused to turn over Trump's tax returns.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden urged Congress and the president to resolve the dispute outside of court.
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Efforts to fend off election hackers in 2020 and beyond have revolved around protecting ballot equipment and the databases of registered voters. Little attention has been focused on the vendors and their employees.
But the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice is proposing that the vendors who make election equipment and related systems be subjected to heightened oversight and vetting, much like defense contractors or others involved in national security.
"There is almost no federal regulation of the vendors that design and maintain the systems that allow us to determine who can vote, how they vote, or how their votes are counted and reported," according to a new report from the nonpartisan policy institute.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has a message for corporations: The country is in trouble, so get off your butt.
The foundation made its pitch to the business community in a newly published white paper chronicling the sorry state of civics education, the role that corporations can play in healing a divided country and why it should all matter to businesses.
The health of civics education is "quite bleak," foundation President Carolyn Cawley said in an introduction to the paper, which she called "the first step in our efforts to make the business case for civics."
With the support and buy-in of the private sector, the foundation believes, the country stands a better chance at improving civic education and engagement, which in turn could heal the in-fighting, distrust and misinformation undermining the health of the country and well-being of corporate America.