By AMY RUSSO
May 15, 2017
Amidst ongoing calls for President Trump to release his tax returns, it appears the tail may be wagging the dog; legislatively speaking, that is. New York City Councilman Corey Johnson is expected to announce a bill this month that would force the president to disclose his personal returns through a strategically-worded proposal targeting one of his golf courses.
The bill, which is still being drafted, would require any individuals holding concession contracts with the city, who are also named in their entity, to make their tax returns public.
Trump Ferry Point LLC, the president’s Bronx golf course, falls squarely under this narrow definition, an intentional move on the part of Council member Johnson, of New York City’s District 3, which includes a large chunk of Manhattan.
If enacted, the bill would demand the release of the president’s most recent returns at the time of the concession contract renewal.
“Donald Trump makes millions off of public land, he emblazons his name all over the property, and he doesn’t return a dime back to the city,” Johnson said in a statement. “This is public property, and the public deserves a much higher degree of transparency. Anybody who behaves this way ought to disclose their financial dealings. The choice for Donald Trump should be simple: Make your returns public or relinquish your contracts with the city of New York.”
How likely is it the bill would pass? Johnson believes it is almost a sure shot. “The response from my colleagues in the Council has been very promising so far,” he said.
However, given the nature of the bill, it is likely President Trump would take immediate legal action against the proposal if it were enacted, but the Council member isn’t too concerned.
“I think it will hold up,” he remarked. “This bill is about more than Trump. It’s about accountability and transparency. And it’s well within the city’s right to require transparency when it comes to the use of public property.”
Council member Johnson isn’t the only New York City politico looking to get ahold of President Trump’s tax information. State Senator Brad Hoylman introduced a bill last month in Albany demanding “statewide elected public officials including the president of the United States” make their tax returns public. The proposal, cleverly titled the “T.R.U.M.P. Act,” or, Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act, is currently sitting in the Senate Committee.
Despite possible backlash from President Trump, both legislative proposals show an active stance against the lack of transparency in the president’s administration and in his corporate dealings.
No response was received by Metro US from the White House on Council member Johnson’s bill.