With the federal government barreling toward a Constitutional crisis, the New York State Senate passed legislation Wednesday that would make it easier for Congress to obtain President Donald Trump’s state tax returns. The bill would not apply to the president’s federal tax returns that are at the center of the battle between Congress and the U.S. Treasury Department with House Democrats seeking legal recourse.
Before the Trust Act went to a vote, state Senator Michael Gianaris warned that Trump was taking “this country to a very dark place if we don’t stand up to him.”
The Trust Act passed 39 to 21. “No person is above the law, including the president of the United States,” said Gianaris, the Senate Deputy Leader. “I am proud to support these proposals to send a message that New York insists on accountability and transparency no matter how powerful one is.”
Several other Queens lawmakers lauded the bill’s signing including state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.
“When our federal government fails to enforce the law, we must take action,” she said. “If agencies like the Department of Justice and Department of Treasury ignore the law, we must stand with our Congressional colleagues to hold this administration accountable.”
State Senator James Sanders said, “Today, the New York State Democratic Conference is taking the initiative to promote transparency and integrity for the highest office in the land.”
The state Senate passed another measure allowing state authorities to prosecute someone even if they receive a presidential reprieve, pardon or other form of clemency.
“It is our obligation, as the NYS Legislature, to hold the highest office in our country to standards commensurate to its power,” state Senator John Liu said. “These two bills will provide clarity for a president whose understanding of the rule of law is, at best, ambiguous, at worst, an imminent threat to the ideals upon which this country is based.”