New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed an amendment to the state’s tax law on Monday, specifically aimed at assisting congressional Democrats in getting their hands on President Donald Trump’s state tax returns.
What are the details?
The bill, named the “Tax Returns Released Under Specific Terms Act,” requires New York’s commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance to furnish state returns and reports at the written request of the chairpersons of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation.
Gov. Cuomo issued a statement saying, “this bill gives Congress the ability to fulfill its Constitutional responsibilities, strengthen our democratic system and ensure that no one is above the law.”
The new law went into effect immediately.
Congressional Democrats have been working feverishly to obtain President Trump’s tax returns. Last week, the Democrat-led House Ways and Means Committee filed a lawsuit against the Treasury, the IRS, and their respective leaders in an attempt to force the agencies to comply with previous requests for the president’s tax records.
Despite accusations from Republican lawmakers that New York state’s new law is politically motivated and unconstitutional, the bill’s sponsors claim they aren’t personally targeting President Trump. State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D) told the New York Times, “Our legislation isn’t about one person. It’s about assisting Congress in its oversight abilities.”
The Daily Mail reported that the Ways and Means Committee is one of six House panels currently investigating the Trump administration in some capacity.
According to CNN, President Trump has filed two lawsuits attempting to block the House Oversight Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, and the House Financial Services Committee from accessing his financial records from banks and an accounting firm. In both cases, trial-level judges sided with Congress, but the president has appealed.
While other states such as California and Washington have tried previously to pass legislation forcing President Trump to release his tax returns through election restrictions, New York is able to use its unique position as the president’s home state — offering greater access to his records, as well as any other resident’s filings who may become a target of Congress.