I don’t understand the Democrats’ fascination at this point with getting a glimpse of Donald Trump’s taxes. Tax returns that candidates make public during their campaigns to help voters decide for whom to cast their ballot. But once the election is a done deal, there is little upside in getting a look at what the individual earned and how much of that he paid out in taxes.
Nevertheless, the Left’s obsession with seeing Trump’s tax return is so all-consuming that it is has become a recurring theme in the mainstream media. It was so compelling that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow risked criminal prosecution for releasing a purloined copy of Trump’s 2005 return in March.
Now the Democratic-controlled New York State legislature has hit upon a plan to force the president’s hand. The Daily News reports that Democrats have crafted a bill that would require any president or vice president who filed a New York state return to release five years of state tax information. The bill, the paper notes, “does everything but mention the President by name.”
While Trump’s state return wouldn’t include all the details from his federal return, it would offer the public much more information about the Republican President’s potential conflicts of interest or how his finances would be affected by his own tax cut proposal, according to supporters.
Democrats in New York and more than two dozen states have crafted bills that would require presidential candidates to release their federal returns in order to appear on that state’s ballot. None, however, would require Trump to release old returns. New York state “is in a unique position to change the national conversation,” according to Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman, of Manhattan, because the President is a native New Yorker.
Scott Reif, a spokesman for the State Senate GOP, is quoted as saying that it “sounds like a P.R. stunt.”
It is more than just that. As Jazz Shaw notes at Hot Air, the proposed law runs afoul of Article I, section 10 of the Constitution. In addition:
The bill … appears to fly in the face of generations of rulings regarding privacy as well as existing state laws which have been on the books for ages. On their own web site under the section on audits, the NYS DoTF reminds taxpayers of the following. (Emphasis added)
You have the right to know why we are requesting certain information, how we will use the information, and the consequences if you fail to submit the information. The Tax Law prohibits the disclosure of information obtained from a tax return or during the course of an audit to any unauthorized person. The Tax Law, however, does permit us to share your tax information with the IRS and other government agencies, within defined standards of secrecy and reciprocity.