Legislation that would give the United States Congress access to President Donald Trump's New York state tax returns was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday, July 8.
"This bill gives Congress the ability to fulfill its Constitutional responsibilities, strengthen our democratic system and ensure that no one is above the law," Cuomo said. "Tax secrecy is paramount — the exception being for bona fide investigative and law enforcement purposes."
The bill requires New York officials to release tax returns of public officials that have been requested by congressional tax-related committees that have cited specified and legitimate legislative purpose in seeking them.
If utilized, the new law is expected to face legal challenges. Jay Sekulow, one of Trump's attorneys, told several media outlets that the Trump Administration would push back, calling it "more presidential harassment."
The tax bill, sponsored by Assemblyman David Buchwald of Westchester, makes it easier for New York to turn over the state tax returns of certain public office-holders, along with entities those people control or have a large stake in, if requested by the leaders of the three congressional tax-writing committees.
"It's a great day for transparency in government, and I thank my colleagues in the State Assembly and Senate and the governor for backing this law that supports our fellow lawmakers in Washington in their important oversight role," said Buchwald, whose 93rd district represents Bedford, Harrison, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge and White Plains.
The House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee or the Joint Committee on Taxation could file a request with New York state if efforts to gain access to federal tax filings through the Treasury Department fail.
Existing laws generally prohibit the release of tax returns.
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