78°F
weather icon Clear

With new NY law, Trump’s state tax returns could go to Congress

ALBANY, N.Y. — President Donald Trump’s New York state tax returns could be given to Congress under a new law in his home state that the Democratic governor signed Monday.

The measure signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo directs state tax officials to share state returns of certain elected and appointed officials upon written request from the chairpersons of one of three committees: House Ways and Means, Senate Finance or Joint Committee on Taxation.

Designed to give Congress a way around the Republican president’s refusal to release his returns, the new law is expected to face legal challenges. And it’s unclear whether Congress will request access to Trump’s state returns, which tax experts say would include many of the same details as his federal return.

“No one person — no matter what office they might hold — is above the law,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat and the Senate sponsor of the legislation.

All sides expect legal challenges and requests for injunctions, meaning it could be many months before any state tax returns are handed over. The White House did not return a message seeking comment Monday on the law.

Trump has long filed taxes in New York as a resident of the state. He is the first president since Watergate to decline to make his returns public, often claiming that he would release them if he were not under audit.

Trump silent so far

The president has not weighed in on the new law but has repeatedly accused New York Democrats of using their positions to harass him and his allies. Republican state lawmakers say their concerns about the new law go far beyond Trump, arguing that any official from New York could be targeted.

“We’re going to let them, political hacks, decide when they want to invade your privacy,” Sen. Andrew Lanza, R-Staten Island, said during floor debate on the bill. “Today, it’s because you are a Democrat, tomorrow it’s because you’re a Republican, the next day it’s because you want to run for Congress.”

Democrats are eager to get ahold of the returns, which could reveal details about his business dealings, his debts and international financial ties.

If Congress does request and obtain Trump’s state tax returns, that doesn’t mean the public gets to see them. Under federal law, the confidential information in the returns is supposed to be for the committee’s eyes only.

To address concerns about the tax privacy of everyday New Yorkers, state lawmakers narrowed the measure so it applies only to the state income tax returns elected officials, party leaders and top public officials, like judges — as well as any businesses or legal entities they control.

In addition, state tax officials would be required to redact personal information, such as Social Security numbers or personal addresses, before handing over the documents.

Lawmakers differ

Top lawmakers in Washington have differed on whether congressional committees should make use of the new law.

U.S. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, has touted the bill as “a workaround to a White House that continues to obstruct and stonewall the legitimate oversight work of Congress.”

Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, however, has signaled that he may not be interested. Neal is already pursuing Trump’s federal returns and has threatened to go to court in order to get the administration to comply.

“The difficulty is that we don’t have control over state taxes,” Neal said in May when asked about the New York legislation. “For the moment, we’re still proceeding on our own path.”

The group Stand Up America, created in 2016 to mobilize opposition to Trump, urged Democrats in Washington to immediately request Trump’s state returns.

“New York has provided Congress a new route for getting answers on behalf of the American people — and all they have to do is ask,” Ryan Thomas, a spokesman for the organization, said in a statement. “Any further delay is an injustice to the American people who deserve transparency about Trump’s foreign entanglements and massive conflicts of interest.”

Neal has issued subpoenas for six years of Trump’s tax documents, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has so far resisted, saying Congress’ request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Tomi Lahren Speaks at UNLV - VIDEO
Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech, titled “Stay Triggered,” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders released from Las Vegas hospital - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issues a statement after he was released from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. (Bernie Sanders via Twitter)
Democratic presidential candidates speak on impeachment - VIDEO
Democratic presidential candidates attending the March for Our Lives/Giffords Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas comment on possible impeachment proceedings. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden Las Vegas Rally Highlights - Video
2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, came to Las Vegas to talk guns, climate change and the Ukranian-Trump scandal. Biden was interrupted by a protestor who sat amongst supporters at the rally and continued with his speech. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden comments on Trump and his campaign efforts in Nevada - Video
After an impeachment inquiry was opened on Donald Trump, Joe Biden talks with Review-Journal politics reporter Rory Appleton about Trump and his campaign in Nevada. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Russia becomes de facto power broker in northern Syria

Russia moved to fill the void left by the United States in northern Syria, deploying troops Tuesday to keep apart advancing Syrian government and Turkish forces.

Bolton called Giuliani a ‘hand grenade,’ testifies ex-White House aide

Fiona Hill, a former White House adviser on Russia, told House impeachment investigators behind closed doors that she had strongly and repeatedly objected to the ouster earlier this year of former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, according to a person familiar with the testimony.

Biden, Warren, Sanders face scrutiny as 12 Democrats debate Tuesday

A dozen Democratic presidential candidates will meet Tuesday for the most crowded presidential debate in modern history. But it’s the three leading candidates — Biden, Sanders and Warren — who face the most intense spotlight.

Controversial Las Vegas domestic violence law moves forward

A new Las Vegas city ordinance would carry the same penalties for people convicted of domestic violence as Nevada state law, but would eliminate the requirement for convicts to give up their firearms in order to avoid holding jury trials for each offense.

Census Bureau asking states for data, including citizenship info

The U.S. Census Bureau is asking states for drivers’ license records that typically include citizenship data and has made a new request for information on recipients of government assistance, alarming some civil rights advocates.

Ex-National Security Council expert on Russia testifying to Congress

Fiona Hill, a former top National Security Council expert on Russia, was testifying to Congress behind closed doors Monday, the latest former Trump administration official to be subpoenaed as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

US pulls troops in north Syria, Trump threatens Turkey sanctions

The United States appears to be heading toward a full military withdrawal from Syria amid growing chaos, cries of betrayal and signs that Turkey’s invasion could fuel a broader war.