Crouch: Assembly Majority Wastes Time Using Legislative Powers to Politically Attack President

June 3, 2019

Let me start this out by saying no matter how you feel about President Trump, recent legislation aimed at obtaining his state tax returns and undermining his potential pardoning powers should frustrate you as a taxpayer. For two days, Assembly Majority politicians turned their focus from the issues that matter to you to politically attacking the President.

First they attacked the double-jeopardy protections New York and many states have held for decades. This opens the door for a loophole known as “dual sovereignty,” allowing someone to be arrested and prosecuted for violating state law even though they were already tried and acquitted. Overturning this would create a two-way street; the federal government could now prosecute someone who has been pardoned by the governor.

Passage of this law was another grandstanding moment here in the state Assembly, as President Trump has not pardoned any individuals who would meet the criteria outlined in this legislation. This was merely a political attack disguised as a legislative action.

Next they turned their focus to the releasing of state tax returns, requiring residents of New York state to release their state tax returns upon the request of a Congressional Committee, which would reverse a long-standing New York state confidentiality requirement to directly attack the president again.

To further prove these bills were a political hit job and absolutely unnecessary, Congressional Committee chairs have already said they are not interested in seeing Trump’s New York state tax returns. This law would dangerously waive all due process protections for taxpayers, giving them no advance notice of a request nor giving them any opportunity to challenge the legitimacy of the request.

You, as a taxpayer, should be troubled by this whether you support President Trump or not. This turned our Legislature’s focus from addressing issues facing our state, such as high taxes, outdated infrastructure, over-regulated business climate, alarmingly high outmigration numbers and continued ethical abuse of power in Albany. We spent two full days of the legislative session on bills aimed at politically attacking one person, waiving long-standing statutory protection and confidentiality requirements for future New Yorkers, to grandstand and attack our president.

With less than a month left in this year’s legislative session, I hope we can get back on track and work to address the issues facing you, the taxpayer. If Assembly Majority politicians really wanted to address ethics reform and corruption, we should start right here in Albany. New York state government is widely known for its ethical abuse and corruption, so when the Museum of Political Corruption and the Center for Ethical Governance was looking for a location in which to set up shop, they chose no other city than Albany, New York.

I have been advocating for the Public Officers Accountability Act (A.3945) for years, sweeping ethics reform measures aimed at holding politicians in New York accountable for their criminal actions. Or we could take a closer look at the state’s economic development programs to check for efficiency or ethical abuse (A.5890), since many of these state investments have resulted in a slew of corruption charges.

Unfortunately, though, it appears political grandstanding is more important to Assembly Majority politicians than real ethical change. With less than a month left in this year’s legislative session, know that I remain focused on fighting for what you, the taxpayer, deserves.