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N.Y. Gov. Cuomo signs bill giving lawmakers access to Trump's state taxes

By Danielle Haynes
N.Y. Gov. Cuomo signs bill giving lawmakers access to Trump's state taxes
Governor Andrew Cuomo said that though privacy is a priority, the New York law would give the U.S. Congress the ability to "fulfill its constitutional responsibilities." File Photo by Louis Lanzano/UPI | License Photo

July 8 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed legislation giving lawmakers access to President Donald Trump's state tax returns.

The state's Democratic-controlled state legislature passed the bill earlier this year, amending the state tax code to give congressional tax-related committees access to tax returns if requested.

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"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."

The legislation, which doesn't specifically name Trump, gives the New York Department of Taxation and Finance authority to share tax returns with state lawmakers.

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Trump hasn't disclosed any tax information since announcing his candidacy in mid-2015. While he's refused repeated calls by lawmakers to release his federal tax returns, his New York state returns could contain much of the same information.

Last month, the Justice Department backed the Treasury Department's rebuff of congressional Democrats' efforts to get their hands on Trump's tax returns. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected a subpoena by the House Committee on Ways and Means.

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Mnuchin reiterated the Trump administration's stance that the committee's request lacks a "legitimate legislative purpose."

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During a hearing of the House Committee on Financial Services, Mnuchin said he does not believe he is violating the law by refusing to hand over the tax documents to Congress.

"I have been advised I am not violating the law. I would have never done anything to violate the law. Quite contrary, I was advised had I turned them over I would be violating the law," he said.

While Congress could be helped by the New York bill, ways and means committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., said the committee still would want access to the federal data.

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