The federal U.S. government has been stuck in low gear, not much happening. The Democratically-led House has passed bill after bill only to have goalie Mitch McConnell smack it down. With the Senate standing in tandem with Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr, Congress cannot function for the people under this dynamic. Enter the states.
Donald Trump headquarters his businesses and his primary residence in Trump Tower, which is located in Manhattan. The state of New York has been right at the point of the sword of the people. State Senator Brad Hoylman (D) has confirmed that his state will pass a unique bill. It would ensure that the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance would be allowed to release any state tax return as long as it had been asked for by a chair of three specific federal congressional committees. Of course, there would need to be a “specific and legitimate legislative purpose,” according to Politicususa.
A state law would means Trump would not have to cooperate with the U.S. committees’ request, because the NY commissioner would be tasked with turning them over. Having Trump’s state returns would be nearly as good as having the president’s federal tax returns, because state returns contain nearly the identical financial information.
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin controls the Internal Revenue Service, and today he blew past a request from the House’s House Ways and Means Committee to provide it with a copy of Trump’s federal income taxes. In a single page letter, Mnuchin wrote as The New York Times reported:
‘As you have recognized, the committee’s request is unprecedented, and it presents serious constitutional questions, the resolution of which may have lasting consequences for all taxpayers.’
The man who occasionally sits in the Oval Office and the Senate have been both claiming that any attempts at oversight of the Executive Branch, which is the House’s job, were simply presidential harassment. The Democrats took the House in the midterm elections, and after a month-long government shutdown, they began their work of investigating this wayward president.
Holyman told CBSN:
‘We’re not suggesting that the tax returns of any New Yorker be made public. We’re providing them to Congress at their request under their mandate to be the check on the Executive and perform their important oversight responsibilities.’
There is nothing that POTUS could do to halt the New York legislature from passing this bill. After Cuomo signs it, the House in D.C. will be able to make their request for his state tax returns. The bill works with the federal government to allow Democrats to do their oversight properly.
The Democrats’ other option has been to take Trump to court. In that scenario, should the judge tell his attorneys that the secretary must show up and produce the document, then he would have to do so. If the Trump administration still held firm, then that would be considered contempt of court and punishable by fines and/or prison time. Of course, the president could pardon Mnuchin — if he felt like it.