Christie vetoes presidential candidate tax return bill

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New Jersey Governor Christie shot down legislation that would force presidential and vice-presidential candidates for office to file a copy of their federal income tax returns in order to appear on the state’s ballot.

Gov. Christie, a frequent ally to President Donald Trump, called the bill a “transparent political stunt masquerading as a bill” in a forceful veto statement on Monday, calling it was “politics at its worst.”

The proposed legislation would also prohibit any elector from voting for president or vice president unless the candidate complies with the bill’s requirements.

The bill comes after claims made by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that President Trump “had no intention” of releasing his tax returns when unveiling the administration’s detail-sparse plan to introduce sweeping tax cuts. 

Mr. Trump has since told John Dickerson on “Face the Nation” last week that he never spoke to Mnuchin about releasing his returns, and instead resorted to using campaign excuses that he was under audit.

“Right now, I’m under audit. After the audit is complete. It’s a routine audit, but I have a very big tax return. You’ve seen the pictures. My tax return is probably higher than that from the floor. When you look at other people’s tax return, even other wealthy people, their tax return is this big. My tax return is this high,” said Mr. Trump.

Christie went on to lambaste Democrats for the bill.

“[U]nwilling to cope with the results of last November’s election,” he wrote, “the Legislature introduced this unconstitutional bill as a form of therapy to deal with their disbelief at the 2016 election results, and to play politics to their base.”

In a post on Facebook on Monday, the bill’s primary sponsor, Democratic Assemblyman John McKeon said he was disheartened to see Christie veto the bill, saying the bill “was not about President Donald Trump.”

I’m disheartened to see that Governor Chris Christie vetoed my bill requiring presidential candidates running on the…

Posted by John F. McKeon on Monday, May 1, 2017

“2016 is over. Donald Trump is President. This bill was about going forward, yet all Gov. Christie can think about is his ally Donald Trump. Sad!”

Christie called the “false outrage” over the bill “stunning, even by Trenton standards.”

“Rather than focus on the multitude of important issues impacting New Jersey’s residents, the Legislature wasted time on a bill that manufactures from whole cloth a qualification for the office of the president not found in the United States Constitution in the hope of scoring cheap political points,” Christie added.

Christie recommended changes to the bill that he says would “eliminate the bill’s unconstitutional federal income tax disclosure requirements” with a provision designed allow public access to the political process in the form of an amendment to the Open Public Records Act to eliminate the disclosure exemption for legislative records.

“Unlike the bill before me, my proposed changes will engender meaningful transparency, while not running afoul of the United States Constitution,” added Christie. 

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Source: CBS News – Politics

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