Proposal in New York Aimed at Making Trump's Tax Returns Public Is Weaponization of Politics

Democratic obsession with Donald Trump’s tax returns is reaching a fever pitch. In all honesty, I wish he’d release every single one just to put the issue to rest. Chances are, Trump is not refusing to release them because of any illegality, but merely because Democrats will make an issue of every deduction and scrutinize every business transaction like hogs trying to sniff out truffles.

Whether or not Trump chooses to release his returns is his business. There is no requirement for tax returns to be released, only financial disclosures and as far as I am concerned, that’s enough. The notion Trump’s tax returns should be released to see how he might benefit from new tax law is absurd. Is that the standard now? Every President has to show how they might benefit or not from a new law?

That’s why it’s disheartening to see lawmakers in New York proposing a bill that would make it a requirement for candidates tax returns to be posted online:

The legislation — dubbed the Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act (or TRUMP Act) — would require the state to post online the state tax returns of anyone elected to federal or state office in a statewide election, including the president and vice president.

Trump is a resident of New York, and bill sponsor Brad Hoylman hopes the legislation will give the public a glimpse at Trump’s taxes.

“The tax experts I’ve spoken to think we’ll get a good snapshot of what’s on his federal form,” he said. In fact, the Trump tax return that the New York Times reported on before the election was the top pages of his New York state form.

Of course, the people proposing this law are exempt since they’re not statewide officeholders. How convenient. 

Lawmakers will say, “Hey, this affects Democrats as well as Republicans!”  but that’s a lame excuse. The bill aims to embarrass one person.

If you disagree, answer these questions. What value does it have? How does it advance constructive debate? What is the purpose and what will we learn from it? Why is it limited only to statewide and federal officeholders? Why aren’t the supporters of the bill held to the same standard?

No matter what you think of Donald Trump, using the law as a sword rather than a shield sets a dangerous precedent.