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New York says Congress can have Trump's state tax returns

New York passed a new law allowing Congress to request its state tax returns — including Trump’s.

By Dan Desai Martin - May 07, 2019

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin broke the law to keep Congress from seeing Trump’s federal tax returns — but Trump’s state tax returns from New York could soon be available to Congress, thanks to a bill signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

On Wednesday, May 22, the New York state Senate and Assembly passed a measure allowing state tax returns to be handed over to Congress upon request. Cuomo signed it into law on July 8.

In a statement, Cuomo said the new law will help Congress “fulfill its Constitutional responsibilities, strengthen our democratic system and ensure that no one is above the law.”

A New York Times report said the bill would allow the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any state tax return if requested for a “specific and legitimate legislative purpose” by one of three congressional committees: House Ways and Means, Senate Finance, or the Joint Committee on Taxation.

“The news of yesterday makes New York’s role even more crucial,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman told the Times after Mnuchin sent a letter in early May to Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), chair of the Ways and Means Committee, refusing to comply with federal law and hand over Trump’s taxes as Neal requested.

The New York bill, Hoylman said, could help Congress perform its oversight role in spite of this obstruction.

The bill mirrors the federal law invoked by Neal, which requires the treasury secretary to furnish federal tax returns if requested by the chair of any of the same three committees mentioned in the New York bill.

With the New York law, Congress could soon see Trump’s state tax returns. And according to the New York Times, the state returns could contain much of the same information as federal returns, especially since Trump’s business is headquartered in New York City.

Thus far, Trump has managed to keep his taxes hidden despite credible allegations of illicit activity. Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer and “fixer,” testified before Congress that Trump has lied about his wealth in order to obtain bank loans in the past, and that Trump misrepresented his wealth to avoid paying taxes.

Even though Mnuchin is willing to break the law for Trump, Congress now has a new way to find out whatever Trump so desperately wants to hide.

This piece has been updated with news of Gov. Cuomo signing the bill into law July 8 and the bill’s passage through the state Senate and Assembly on May 22.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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