NEW YORK — New York Democrats, undeterred in their efforts to bring down President Trump in the wake of the failed Mueller investigation, have turned their attention once again toward the president’s tax records.
A new bill proposed by Dems would allow the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any state tax return that’s been requested by the heads of three committees, the Senate Finance Committee; the House Ways and Means Committee; and the Joint Committee on Taxation, for a “specific and legitimate legislative purpose.”
The president’s tax records have always been a subject of interest for anti-Trump Democrats, anxious for dirt on the president.
Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman, who sponsored the bill, says the effort, if passed, would act as “a safety valve for any attempt by the White House to block the Congress from doing this at the federal level.”
“The state return, presumably, has to match the federal return,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.R., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “It just makes the work of the federal committee, that has a legitimate reason to look into this, a little easier to see the complete picture.”
But Republicans have been quick to hit back at the efforts as just another stage in the ongoing “witch hunt” against the president.
“This is a bill of attainder, aimed at one person,” said Ed Cox, who chairs the New York State Republican Party, calling the move just another example of the left’s “outrageous politics.”
Trump’s personal lawyer, William S. Consovoy, on Friday defended Trump’s right as a citizen to keep his tax returns private and urged the Treasury Department not to hand the records over to House Democrats.
This is a “gross abuse of power,” Consovoy said. “Even if Ways and Means had a legitimate committee purpose for requesting the president’s tax returns and return information, that purpose is not driving Chairman Neal’s request”
“His request is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech,” Consovoy added.
Asked about the issue on Friday, Trump said he had bigger issues to contend with, like securing the nation’s borders.
Asked on Friday if he was confident he would succeed, Mr. Trump offered an ambiguous prediction.
“Oh, I don’t know,” he said of Hoylman’s efforts. “That’s up to whoever handles it. I don’t know. Hey, I’m under audit. But that’s up to whoever it is. From what I understand, the law is 100 percent on my side.”