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State Senate passes bill to help release Trump’s tax returns

ALBANY — The Democrat-controlled state Senate wants Congress to get its hands on President Donald Trump’s tax returns. They passed two bills on Wednesday. The first allows New York to release any state tax returns of a New York citizen requested by Congress — but it’s aimed at Trump. It passed 39-21. The second authorizes...

ALBANY — The Democrat-controlled state Senate wants Congress to get its hands on President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

They passed two bills on Wednesday.

The first allows New York to release any state tax returns of a New York citizen requested by Congress — but it’s aimed at Trump. It passed 39-21.

The second authorizes local and state prosecutors to bring charges against individuals who have been pardoned by the president.

They would include a White House staffer, appointee or Trump family members. The bill passed 38-22, with Democratic Senators Monica Martienz (D-Suffolk) and Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) voting in the negative.

“No one is above the law,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester).

“We see things unfolding that really is blocking the ability for our counterparts in the congressional level to do their constitutional responsibility.”

The tax release legislation sponsored by state Sen. Brad Hoylamn (D-Manhattan) amends state laws that currently prohibit the release of private tax information.

The commissioner of the state Department of Taxation and Finance will be authorized to release state tax returns of any New Yorker at the request of one of three congressional panels — the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation.

When asked if New York could face a legal challenge from Trump, Hoylman dismissed the possibility.

“I don’t think the president is known to be very litigious, so no,” Hoylman joked.

The “double jeopardy” loophole loosens state law that prohibits state prosecutors from bringing similar charges against those pardoned from federal charges.

The change authorizes retroactive prosecution, but is limited to cases where the double jeopardy law is not already applied.

But Republicans warned that the bills, if passed, will take the Empire State down a very slippery political slope.

“We’re gonna be blinded by political considerations, we are not only going to throw the baby out with the bathwater, we’re going to throw freedom out into the garbage heap,” argued state Sen. Andrew Lanza (D-SI).

“You may be aiming for the president, but there’s going to be a lot of collateral damage. Today it’s the president. Tomorrow it’ll be the rest of us,” he warned.

Democrats boasted that they’re targeting Trump in their own media advisory with the headline: “New York State Senate Democratic Majority Stands Up to President Trump.”

Sen. Rob Ortt (R-Lockport) argued that any future investigation pursued by New York Attorney General Letitia James will be tainted by politics, as she is “already showing her hand” and “bias” when it comes to the current lawsuit against the National Rifle Association.

Stewart-Cousins said she expected both proposals to also clear the Democrat-run Assembly.

An Assembly spokesman said the conference will review the bills next week.

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