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Open Government

Sanders pledges release of tax returns

Bernie Sanders is a millionaire.

To celebrate, the Vermont senator says he plans to release 10 years' worth of tax returns by Monday, which just so happens to be Tax Day. Sanders, who officially announced his second run for the Democratic presidential nod last month and had been slow to release his most recent returns in 2016, goaded President Donald Trump to follow his lead.

"On the day in the very immediate future, certainly before April 15, we release ours, I hope that Donald Trump will do exactly the same," Sanders told The New York Times.

The Democrats' showcase legislation, HR 1, would require presidents, vice presidents and the major-party nominees for those offices to release 10 years' worth of tax returns.

Other 2020 Democratic hopefuls who have released either 2018 tax returns, or at least a decade of previous returns, include Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as well as Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington.

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Open Government
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FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub

The struggle is real: FEC stalled on regulations for online political ads

The Federal Election Commission has once again punted on establishing rules for identifying who is sponsoring online political advertisements. Thursday marked the fourth consecutive meeting in which the topic fell to the wayside without a clear path forward.

FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub revived debate on the topic in June when she introduced a proposal on how to regulate online political ads. In her proposal, she said the growing threat of misinformation meant that requiring transparency for political ads was "a small but necessary step."

Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen and Commissioner Caroline Hunter put forth their own proposal soon after Weintraub, but the commissioners have failed to find any middle ground. At Thursday's meeting, a decision on the agenda item was pushed off to a later date.

Weintraub's proposal says the funding source should be clearly visible on the face of the ad, with some allowance for abbreviations. But Petersen and Hunter want to allow more flexibility for tiny ads that cannot accommodate these disclaimers due to space.

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Open Government
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California's Supreme Court is expediting President Trump's challenge to a new state law that would require him to release five years of tax returns in order to get on the state ballot for the 2020 election.

California court expedites Trump challenge to new tax returns requirement

The California Supreme Court is fast-tracking its review of a challenge to a new law that would require President Trump to make public his tax returns in order to get on the state's ballot for the 2020 election.

A lawsuit seeking to block implementation of the law was filed August 6 by the California Republican Party against Secretary of State Alex Padilla. It claims the law violates California's constitution.

Two other challenges, one filed by Trump's personal lawyers, are pending in federal court.

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