ALBANY,NY — July 8, 2019 — Talk, talk, and more talk; but little else. The battle royale continued to rage. It took over 2 ½ years. The time has come. As of today, Monday, July 8, 2019, those who would thwart President Donald Trump from having his tax returns publicly revealed were dealing with a determined Governor Cuomo who has shown no timidity in challenging President Trump from denying public access to those returns.
The “Trust Act” signed by Gov. Cuomo authorizes New York State tax authorities to release the documents with but one caveat. That is, that a Congressional Committee must request the documents for “legitimate legislative purpose.”
“Tax secrecy is paramount — the exception being for bonafide investigative and law enforcement purposes,” Cuomo said. “By amending the law enforcement exception in New York State tax code to include Congressional tax-related committees, this bill gives Congress the ability to fulfill its Constitutional responsibilities, strengthen our democratic system and ensure that no one is above the law.”
Now signed, the “Trust Act” directs Michael Schmidt, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to share state income tax returns and reports upon the written request of the Chairperson of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation.
The request made of Commissioner Schmidt must be accompanied by certification that the tax returns / reports have been requested for a specified and legitimate legislative purpose. Commissioner Schmidt must also redact any and all information that would violate state or federal laws or be invasive of Pres. Trump’s personal privacy.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied the House Ways and Means committee in May 2019 torelease six years of Trump’s Federal Tax return. Mnuchin asserted his the committee making a request for the information did not have legitimate legislative rationale to make the request of the Internal Revenue Service.
“This bill gives Congress the ability to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities, strengthen our democratic system and ensure that no one is above the law,” said Gov. Cuomo.
Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow decried the law as an example of “more presidential harassment.”
Sekulow advised “We will respond to this as appropriate.”