New Jersey Democrats Push Bill to Keep Trump’s Name off 2020 State Ballot
NJ lawmakers threaten to keep president off the ballot unless he makes his taxes public
A new bill being pushed by mostly Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey aims to keep President Donald Trump and other politicians’ names off the state ballot in 2020 unless they make their taxes public.
On Thursday, the state Senate approved a bill that would leave off the names of candidates in the presidential election if they are unwilling to release their tax returns to the public, according to NorthJersey.com.
In 2017, a similar effort was devised, but then-Republican Gov. Chris Christie squashed Democrats’ hopes by vetoing the bill, describing it as a “transparent political stunt.”
Should the Assembly and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy approve the bill, New Jersey would become the first state to enact such a measure.
At least 30 other states have made similar attempts to pass such legislation, but none have become law, according to the Courier Post.
According to the Daily Caller, 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 Constitution.
Proponents of the bill, like Republican state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, argue 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,” he said in a statement.
"Taxpayers will be the ones who pay the price when this ends up in court," he added.
Crazy Bernie has just entered the race. I wish him well!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019
Pennacchio says 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.
Critics say such a measure would be struck down by the courts and could lead to more demands on candidates in the future.
“It’s just political pandering,” said John Carbone, an attorney specializing in election law at the Ridgewood firm Carbone & Faasse.
“They can impose no requirements for a candidate for federal office, let alone president,” Carbone added, referring to Democratic state lawmakers.
“They’re thinking like Alabama Democrats during the Civil War: What can we do to get Lincoln?”