- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2019

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law Monday that would allow the state to release President Trump’s tax returns with Congress.

The law gives key chairmen on Capitol Hill the ability to request public officials’ state returns — though all sides acknowledge the chief target of the law is Mr. Trump, who has refused to make his returns public.

The law could give House Democrats a way to work around the IRS, which has defied Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal’s subpoena demanding access to years of Trump tax returns.

Administration officials say Mr. Neal doesn’t have a legitimate purpose for requesting the documents.

The New York law does require a similar legitimate legislative purpose — though Democratic officials in the state are likely to be more amenable to Mr. Neal’s reasoning.

Mr. Cuomo, in singing the bill, insisted his state will still try to protect “tax secrecy” — though he cast the new law as a way to insist important congressional probes.

“Tax secrecy is paramount - the exception being for bona fide investigative and law enforcement purposes,” he 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.”

Mr. Neal, though, has stated a reluctance to use New York’s law against Mr. Trump. Bloomberg reported that he feared it would undercut the legal case for getting Mr. Trump’s taxes.

Mr. Neal last week filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to step in and order the IRS to comply.

In New York, state GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy warned the new law is ripe for abuse, warning that any New Yorker could face disclosure.

“This law is nothing more than presidential harassment,” he said. “It will never stand up in the courts.”

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