Gopal: The courts should decide if NJ can keep Trump off the ballot if he doesn’t release tax returns
By Art Gallagher
State Senator Vin Gopal said it would be up to the courts to decide if New Jersey has the right to keep a presidential candidate, President Trump or any other candidate, off the ballot in the state if they do not disclose five years of tax returns, as required by legislation he voted in favor of last week, should the bill pass in the Assembly and be signed by Governor Phil. Murphy.
Gopal reached out to object to MMM’s coverage of his vote on the bill, S119,which would also prohibit Electoral College electors from voting for a candidate who did not disclose their tax returns, regardless of how voters cast their ballots. He objected to the use of the phrase “fellow cronies” in describing his relationships with the other Democrat senators who passed the bill last week. He said I was inferring that he was corrupt for not wanting the the disclosure requirement to apply to him and other NJ elected officials and that I was implying that his cash purchase of his Tinton Falls office building was nefarious.
I told him that I do not believe he is corrupt and it never occurred to me that he got the money to buy his building from George Norcross or Steve Sweeney. I assumed he got the money from his mother, I told him.
“New Jersey legislators file a financial disclosure and are required to complete and attend ethics training every year,” Gopal said in a text. “Everything on the private side goes through ethics checks.
“The NJ Legislature does not have anything to do with foreign governments. I believe we have good disclosure requirements. If you have thousands of candidates filing tax returns, I don’t think that’s necessary and it will prevent good people from running for local office. We already have enough trouble having good people run for local office.
“A presidential candidate is a whole different level and should have to file tax returns there is no other way to properly see which financial interests they may have in an international level. This would apply to any major candidate running for president, not just Trump. As more candidates file who may have financial tie to other countries, a tax return is the best way for the public to see that,” the Senator concluded.