Governor signs bill giving access to Trump’s state tax returns

Herb Boyd | 7/11/2019, 5:05 p.m.
Unlike the often passive-aggressive demeanor of congressional Democrats, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and certainly Attorney General Tish James, are not intimidated ...

Unlike the often passive-aggressive demeanor of congressional Democrats, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and certainly Attorney General Tish James, are not intimidated by Trump. Indicative of this bravado is the governor signing a bill to allow congressional committees to have access to Trump’s state tax returns.

According to the new law Cuomo signed Monday, July 8, a request of Trump’s state returns from the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation must be released by state tax officials.

Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said the new law was “more presidential harassment” and that there is sure to be a legal challenge.

Even more uncertain is whether Democratic chairs are willing to follow up on the governor’s lead, perhaps concerned about the repercussions and if such moves will make it more difficult to obtain Trump’s federal tax returns.

A spokesperson for the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, had no comment on the new law. But Ryan Thomas, a spokesman for Stand Up America, said that “Any further delay is an injustice to the American people who deserve transparency about Trump’s foreign entanglements and massive conflicts of interest.”

Some of the hesitancy on part of the Ways and Means Committee may stem from its lack of success in securing Trump’s federal tax returns, a six-year quest. But getting Trump’s state returns could reveal relevant federal tax information.

Cuomo said that he hoped the law would help Congress “fulfill its constitutional responsibilities, strengthen our democratic system and ensure that no one is above the law.”

There was no direct response from the White House, although a few days before the governor signed the bill Trump called the bill a “political Witch Hunt.” Cuomo said the tweet from Trump was another indication that his paranoia “is once again getting the better of him.”