Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The state of New York passed a law Monday allowing the United States Congress to receive an individual’s NY state tax returns via a formal request, including a New York resident, such as current U.S. President Donald Trump. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to sign it into law, which would allow the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Joint Committee on Taxation to request Donald Trump’s tax returns.

The law requires the committees provide a request for a, “specified and legitimate legislative purpose.” The law does not target Trump by name. Rather, the U.S. Congress can obtain personal financial records without a warrant. Republicans in the New York legislature claim this gives legal coverage for the federal government violate an individuals privacy and conduct “fishing expeditions.”

The fourth amendment of the United States Constitution says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

During the 2016 United States presidential race, Trump declined to release any of his tax returns, saying they were under audit by the Internal Revenue Service. It is not required by law for candidates to release this information, but it us unusual for one not to do so.