The Senate Democratic Majority passed legislation today that will have a major impact, nationally and in New York State, by holding the President Donald Trump accountable. The bills passed by the Senate allow New York State to release any state tax returns requested by Congress and authorize state authorities to prosecute someone even if they receive a Presidential reprieve, pardon or other form of clemency.
”This President and his administration have repeatedly shown a true hostility to the rule of law and Presidential customs,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. ”No person is above the law and New Yorkers, as well as all Americans, deserve transparency from their elected officials at every level of government. I commend Senators Hoylman and Kaminsky for their leadership on these important bills.”
The legislation advanced by the Senate Majority includes:
- Trump Taxes: This bill, S.5072-A, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, will allow New York State officials to release state tax returns in cooperation with Congressional investigations by authorizing the Commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance to furnish state tax returns upon written request of the chairperson of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation.
- Double Jeopardy: This bill, S.4572, sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky, will allow New York state prosecutors to bring charges against people who have received presidential pardons, or other forms of clemency, in certain circumstances. This bill only applies in situations where the President had a conflict of interest in the case; for example, where the person pardoned is related to the President, or had previously worked for the President.
Bill Sponsor, Senator Brad Hoylman, said, “Today, the New York State Senate voted to do its part to assist Congress in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities by passing the TRUST Act, allowing the State Tax Department to cooperate with congressional committees requesting New York State tax returns. I am grateful to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Revenue and Budget Chair Brian Benjamin, my colleagues in the Senate, and to my partner in the Assembly, David Buchwald. We must ensure that Congress can’t be blocked in their attempts to hold even the highest elected officials in the land accountable to the American people.”
Bill Sponsor, Senator Todd Kaminsky, said, “Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report provided disturbing, new evidence of the President’s plan to improperly use the pardon power to help his associates and undermine the rule of law. As former federal corruption prosecutor, I am pleased the Senate will take up my legislation to close the Double Jeopardy loophole and crack down on corruption. No one — not even the President and his inner circle — is above the law, and I urge the Assembly to pass this vital piece of legislation in an expeditious fashion — justice demands no less.”
Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, “No person is above the law, including the President of the United States. 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.”
Senator Alessandra Biaggi said, “Right now, our democracy and a government that is actually of, by and for the people is at risk. The only way to preserve our precious ideals is to uphold the rule of law and hold everyone accountable for their actions.”