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New York moves to expose Trump taxes

Stephen Dinan The Washington TimesMay 22, 2019

New York’s legislature approved a bill Wednesday that would give Congress access to President Trump’s state tax returns, setting up a backdoor method for Democrats to get hold of information Mr. Trump has refused to release.

The legislation doesn’t name Mr. Trump, but it applies to top elected and appointed officials and is clearly aimed at the president, who filed taxes in the state, and who has myriad business entities in the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signaled support for the legislation in the abstract, though a spokesman said he’ll review the bill carefully, the Associated Press reported.

Though there is no law that requires a president to make his taxes public, for decades it’s been standard practice.

Mr. Trump defied that.

Democrats, believing there’s embarrassing information in the returns, have made it a mission to expose them.

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal subpoenas six years of returns from Mr. Trump and some of his businesses.

The Treasury Department has defied that subpoena, with Secretary Steven Mnuchin arguing the request is not legitimate.

He said he expects the courts to referee.

Should Mr. Cuomo sign New York’s legislation and should Democrats then request the president’s taxes, it’s still unclear what happens next.

Under the law tax return information is supposed to be kept confidential.

But legal analysts say a single lawmaker who got ahold of the information could release it on the House or Senate floor, protected by the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause that prevents legal consequences for actions that occur in the course of debate.

New York’s action on taxes comes a day after the state assembly approved a bill that would explicitly allow prosecutors to pursue charges against someone even after he or she received a presidential pardon on federal charges.

Lawmakers had wanted to head off a potential “double jeopardy” challenge.

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