Oregon gov supports push for candidates to disclose tax returns

Oregon Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said she would sign a law requiring presidential candidates to disclose income tax returns before they can appear on the state’s primary ballot in 2020 if the state’s legislature were to pass such a measure.

“We have to hold our elected officials accountable. I think this is just one way of doing it,” Brown said in an interview with HuffPost published Monday.

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill in July, mandating that presidential candidates release the last five years of their taxes in order to have their name on the California primary ballot after President Donald Trump has failed to make his tax returns public. Brown’s support for such a measure comes as Democrats in Congress and on the state level have tried pressuring Trump to reveal his financial information.

Trump, his reelection campaign, and the Republican National Committee filed separate lawsuits last week challenging the California law.

“I suspect you’ll see other legislation like this in the future,” Brown told HuffPost. The Oregon state legislature will return to the state Capitol next year.

In response to a request for comment from CNN, a spokesperson for Brown’s office said the governor’s comments to HuffPost were made in response to the California bill shortly after it was signed into law and not in regard to any specific legislation in Oregon.

In 2016, Trump bucked tradition by refusing to voluntarily release his tax returns, prompting questions and lawsuits about potential conflicts of interest. Several Democratic 2020 candidates have already released their tax information, seeking to draw a contrast with Trump.

This past legislative session, Oregon Democrats tried and failed to get a similar bill passed that would have required presidential and vice presidential candidates to provide five years of tax returns to appear on the general election ballot. A public hearing on the measure was held in April, but the bill was still in committee when the legislature adjourned in June.

Oregon recently had a very contentious legislative session — culminating with Republican lawmakers fleeing the state to protest a vote on a cap and trade climate change bill.

Brown authorized state police to locate the Senate Republicans and return them to the state Capitol.

And last month, the chairman of the Oregon Republican Party also launched an effort to recall Brown and have her removed from office.

In another move that might affect the 2020 election, Oregon in June became one of over a dozen states to join the National Popular State compact, an agreement established by each participating states’ laws to put its electoral votes toward the winner of the national popular vote, instead of the state’s own popular vote.

The compact only goes into effect if the cumulative total of the states’ electoral votes surpasses the 270 necessary for a majority.

As of May, 16 states and the District of Columbia, representing 196 electoral votes, have joined the compact, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

CNN’s Caroline Kelly, Ariane de Vogue and Kyung Lah contributed to this report.