NY Senate passes bills on Trump's tax returns and pardon power

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Houston Republican Dan Huberty, the bill's author, admitted Tuesday he didn't have the votes to pass it. Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen had backed the proposal to put the matter before voters this fall. He wouldn't disclose the details of what was discussed in the meeting, but he said he believes his Republican colleagues largely supported the bill.

The bill's expected passage comes amid escalating tensions between the White House and Congress over numerous wide-ranging investigations into potential conflicts of interests posed by the president and his business dealings, many of which the Trump administration are stonewalling or flat-out ignoring.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has declined to disclose Trump's federal returns to the House, saying the request "lacks a legitimate legislative goal".

The submission of the former real-estate mogul's NY state tax returns could offer a first, if partial, insight into the current financial situation of the president, who has declared himself to be a multi-billionaire. Any law passed in NY might also be destined for a court challenge.

Trump's home state is NY, where many of his business enterprises are based. The TRUST Act would only apply to his state filings and not Trump's federal returns, which the House is trying to obtain from the Treasury Department.

In the span of almost a decade, from 1985 to 1994, Donald Trump lost more money than almost any other individual American taxpayer, the Times report claims. New York's proposed law wouldn't authorize the discloser of Trump's returns in any of the years described in the Times report. The bill has been voted out of committee, but has not gotten a vote in either chamber.

The measure, which would amend state laws prohibiting private tax information from being released, isn't scheduled for a vote yet in the Assembly, where more than 90 Democrats in the 150-seat chamber support the legislation.

As President Donald Trump continues to refuse requests from Democrats on Capitol Hill to hand over copies of his tax returns, state lawmakers in NY are ramping up their efforts to obtain them.

In legislative action ahead of the vote on the tax returns bill, the Senate approved legislation created to ensure that a presidential pardon doesn't cover similar criminal charges filed at the state level.

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled his support for the legislation after it was introduced in April in the state's upper chamber. Currently, state prosecutors can not bring charges based on the same facts used to convict individuals of federal crimes for which they received pardons, creating a so-called "double-jeopardy loophole".

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