Last week House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass) sent a letter to the IRS Commissioner demanding six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns. This started a huge legal and political fight in Washington, with both sides prematurely claiming victory.
Neal and other House Democrats have said the federal law is clear, and the tax returns must be turned over. Trump’s lawyer and Chief of Staff have been equally clear — the tax returns will NOT be given to Congress.
In fact Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Fox News Sunday that Democrats would “never see Trump’s tax returns.”
Although the battle between Trump and House Democrats may end up in court, there is another group of Democrats who are pursuing what they believe is a fail-safe strategy to obtain copies of the president’s tax filings.
“To Get Trump’s Tax Returns, N.Y. Democrats Try a New Strategy – The New York Times”
These strongly anti-Trump New York Democrats plan to introduce a bill this week that the believe will get them what they want.
Under this bill, the Commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance would be permitted to release any state tax return requested by leaders of three congressional committees for any “specific and legitimate legislative purpose.”
New York State Senator Brad Hoylman confirmed that this bill was designed with Trump in mind. He termed the proposed legislation “a safety valve for any attempt by the White House to block the Congress from doing this at the federal level … we’re creating a parallel track.”
As everyone knows, the Trump Organization is headquartered at Trump Tower in New York City. Also, many of the Trump Organization’s real estate holdings are in New York. This means these business entities have had to file New York state tax returns.
Tax experts say that the president’s New York tax returns will contain most of the same information as his federal tax returns.
While campaigning for president, Trump promised many times to release his returns, but he has never done so. He uses an excuse that he is under audit, but that is not a legitimate reason for not disclosing his tax filings to the public.
Since Neal sent his letter to the IRS, Trump and his people have said they would not comply with the request. They have indicated they will fight it all the way to the Supreme Court if they have to.
Trump even got Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to fast-track the confirmation of the IRS counsel before the attorney general, to ensure he had an ally against efforts to disclose his taxes.
But this latest action in New York shows that Donald Trump will not be able to avoid the inevitable for much longer. He is desperately trying to prevent the American people from seeing his tax filings. The more he acts desperate, the more people want to see those tax returns, asking “What is he hiding?”
Every American should be thankful to Democrats in the New York State Assembly who are doing their part to hold Donald Trump accountable. Because of their efforts we may soon find out if Trump is a tax cheat — and if he has been a traitor to his country.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.
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