NY legislators OK congressional access to Trump tax returns

Rep. Peter DeFazio D-Springfield

Rep. Peter DeFazio D-Springfield

A NY law that will allow the release of President Trump's highly sought after state tax returns to Congress is now headed to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Earlier versions of bills in the New York State Senate and Assembly allowed for the request of any New Yorker's tax returns, but on Wednesday, amendments passed that narrowed the scope to tax returns of certain officials including the president, vice president, members of Congress representing New York, and others.

According to the New York Times, the TRUST Act would allow the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release Trump's tax returns "to the chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Joint Committee on Taxation for any 'specified and legitimate legislative goal'".

The tax filings of President Trump and all public elected officials in NY will be fair game for congressional Democrats under a new law.

The newest iteration of the bill passed the Assembly 85-49, and 31-21 in the state Senate.

Those against the legislation say it is politically driven, with Republican assemblyman Doug Smith saying the bill was about "using this body as a weapon against" Trump, NBC reported. While he's refused repeated calls by lawmakers to release his federal tax returns, his NY state returns could contain much of the same information.

"We are affirming Congress' role as a co-equal branch of government and the sacred constitutional principle that nobody is above the law, not even the highest elected official in the land", Hoylman said.

Though there is no law that requires a president to make his taxes public, for decades it's been standard practice.

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal subpoenas six years of returns from Mr. Trump and some of his businesses.

Trump hasn't disclosed any tax information since announcing his candidacy in mid-2015. The Trump administration has since bucked several attempts from congressional Democrats to obtain the president's taxes and examine possible foreign entanglements and fraud.

Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gives a news conference after voting for the midterm elections, at the Presbyterian Church in Mt. Kisco, New York, U.S., November 6, 2018. But the state returns provide similar information and could prove useful to Democrats' investigations.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he wouldn't comply with a congressional subpoena seeking six years of the president's tax returns, in part because the request "lacks a legitimate legislative goal".

Lawmakers had wanted to head off a potential "double jeopardy" challenge.

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