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California recently passed a law requiring presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release five years of tax returns as a condition for appearing on a primary election ballot in the state. The idea is to "provide voters with essential information regarding the candidate's potential conflicts of interest, business dealings, financial status, and charitable donations."

Although it doesn't say so explicitly, the law is clearly aimed at President Donald Trump. Rightly so: His questionable conduct suggests such measures are needed.

It's unfortunate that such efforts are necessary. But Trump's time in office has been a daily reminder that presidents will not always conduct themselves with integrity. As president, he has used his office to channel revenue into a variety of family businesses, from the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, where lobbyists, contract seekers, and grifters of sundry stripes drop by to deposit money in the president's pockets.

Editorial on 08/14/2019

Print Headline: Essential reading

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