House Democrats are trying really hard to get copies of President Donald Trump‘s tax returns, but if they can’t do it on their own, they might have some help. A new bill proposed by lawmakers in New York would allow the commissioner of the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance to turn over state tax returns if requested by certain congressional committees.
The bill, introduced on Monday by State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D), could serve as a backup plan for Democrats. If the U.S. Treasury Department denies requests from Congress for the president’s federal tax returns, they would at least have a chance of getting his state returns. Currently, the state taxation department is not allowed to release them, but the bill would change that if it gets passed and signed into law.
“If Washington fails to give the American people the transparency they deserve, New York will take the lead,” Hoylman said in a tweet.
I am introducing new legislation to allow New York State officials to release state tax returns in cooperation with Congressional investigations.
If Washington fails to give the American people the transparency they deserve, New York will take the lead.https://t.co/Q7lshMBWv8
— Senator Brad Hoylman (@bradhoylman) April 8, 2019
“It is time for New York to help ensure Congress can’t be blocked in their attempts to hold even the highest elected officials in the land accountable to the American people,” he wrote in an earlier tweet.
Trump’s state returns could very well be just as informative as his federal ones, the New York Times noted.
The bill would apply to requests from the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Joint Committee on Taxation, but it would not guarantee that they can get Trump’s tax returns. Just like requests for federal tax returns, the New York bill would require a “specific and legitimate legislative purpose.”
Ed Cox, the chairman of the New York State Republican Party, told the Times described the bill as “outrageous politics.” The state’s government, however, is controlled by Democrats, with the party having majorities in the State Senate and State Assembly, to go along with a Democratic governor.
[Image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images]
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