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 making its way through the New York Legislature.
The New York state Senate passed a bill on Wednesday allowing state tax returns to be handed over to Congress upon request.
The New York Times reports that 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 bill already has the support of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat. With a two-to-one Democratic partisan advantage in the state Assembly, where the bill is now headed, the measure has the chance to become law in the coming week or months.
“The news of yesterday makes New York’s role even more crucial,” state Senator Brad Hoylman told the Times on Tuesday. He was referring to a Monday letter Mnuchin sent to Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), chair of the House 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.
But if the New York bill becomes 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 liedabout 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 may soon have a new way to find out whatever Trump so desperately wants to hide.
This post has been updated with news of the bill’s passage through the state senate on Wednesday.
Published with permission of The American Independent.