Is the Governor a Hypocrite?
By Quentin Kopp
The prime minister of Ghana once observed: “I don’t like hypocrisy – even in
I don’t think voters and taxpayers like it either. By the time you read this monthly
diatribe, we’ll probably know the hypocrisy level of Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
The state legislature last month enacted Senate Bill 149, by senators Scott Wiener of
San Francisco and Mike McGuire of Healdsburg. That both of those worthies are
Democrats is relevant.
The proposed law would require presidential candidates to make public
five years of their federal and state income tax returns as a condition for
placement on the California ballot for president in 2020.
The impetus for the bill arises from our president’s refusal to provide prospective voters
and the needy media with his New York and United States tax returns before the
Similar measures have been attempted this year in other legislatures because disclosure
publicly of income tax returns by presidential candidates has been custom
and practice for the last 49 years.
Such legislation emanates from that precedent, and the fact that the current
president has his hands and those of family members in a wide variety of businesses,
which creates a strong possibility of conflicts of interest, which could taint his actions as
That the Democratic candidate lost the election constitutes unspoken motivation for
Senate Bill 149.
Under the California Constitution, Gov. Brown has until Oct. 20, to sign the bill, veto it, or
allow it to become effective without approval or veto.
The governor provided California in 2010 with the second act of his glorious career in
elected public office. At that time, he refused to release his state or federal income tax
returns and he was elected. Brown successfully sought reelection in 2014, and again
refused to disclose those income tax returns.
Senate Bill 149 is probably unconstitutional. That’s the opinion of the legislature’s
lawyer, the legislative counsel.
That could be Democratic Governor Brown’s veto escape hatch. Otherwise, we needn’t
rely on an African nation’s prime minister if he allows such a law to satisfy the
It’s not exactly hypocrisy, but it is an astonishing lack of understanding of constitutional
law by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. In early September, Feinstein, vice chairwoman of the
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, accused U.S. District Court Judge Amy Barrett,
who was nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, of allowing her
Roman Catholicism to influence her decisions.
Feinstein commented that some such decisions seemed to reflect “dogma,” as in
Roman Catholic dogma. Her Democratic committee colleague, Sen. Dick Durbin
of Illinois, evidently trying to exceed Feinstein’s insinuations, asked Judge
Barrett if she had ever been an “orthodox” Catholic! As Tom Myse of Oakland
points out in a letter to The Wall Street Journal, what shades of Catholicism ex-
ist? Is there a lukewarm Catholic or a “cafeteria Catholic?” (Catholicism isn’t
Judaism, which contains three theological branches, namely, orthodox, conservative
and reformed Judaism.)
Forgotten or ignored by the two critical U.S. senators is Article VI, Section 3
of the United States Constitution, which declares that all members of Congress,
members of state legislatures, executive officers of the United States and several
states, and judicial officers shall be bound to support the Constitution, “but no religious
test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the
It’s puzzling, if not amusing, to reflect upon the fact that Feinstein’s parents
were Jews from Russian immigrant families, and she graduated from San
Francisco’s Convent of the Sacred Heart, a prestigious private Catholic high
school, pursuant to her mother’s wishes, according to the Jewish Women’s
Archive, after attending “a Jewish religious school.”
Finally, in this age of “inclusiveness” and “diversity,” catch-alls for much collegiate
and educational agitation, a recent analysis by an entity named InvestmentWatch,
discussing a Princeton University study measuring the effect of race and ethnicity upon
admission to college by using Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores, revealed that African
Americans received a so-called “bonus” of 230 points and Hispanics a bonus of
185 points. Asian Americans, however, were penalized 50 points.
It won’t be long before the California Teachers Association attempts to lower standards
for aspiring California public school teachers, despite a U.S. Department of Education
finding that there exists a glut of more than 3.8 million public school teachers and the
California student population has only increased from 6,220,000 in 2010 to 6,230,000
The canard of a teacher shortage in California and elsewhere is concocted by
the teachers’ unions, state and national.
Quentin Kopp is a member of the SF Ethics Commission.