It was against that backdrop that Democrats in New York assembled their bill and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed it into law this month. As enacted, it requires state tax officials to hand over Mr. Trump’s state returns to the chairman of one of three congressional panels: the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation. The chairmen need only demonstrate a “specified and legitimate legislative purpose” for making the request.
State tax documents would most likely contain much of the information that Mr. Trump’s federal returns would.
Mr. Neal, a Democrat, has given no indication that he intends to actually make a request under the New York law. Some Democrats on Capitol Hill have even viewed the New York measure with reservation, worrying it will jeopardize their pursuit of Mr. Trump’s federal returns.
But Mr. Trump’s lawyers argue that Mr. Neal could change his mind at any time, and New York could comply “nearly instantaneously, mooting the president’s ability to object before his tax records are disclosed.”
“President Trump was thus forced to bring this lawsuit to safeguard his legal rights,” they wrote.
The legal maneuver is becoming familiar seven months into the Democratic House majority. Mr. Trump has also intervened in his private capacity to try to block private companies from complying with congressional subpoenas for various financial records.
Democrats in Washington and Albany were not happy.
Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., Democrat of New Jersey and a member of the Ways and Means Committee, called the lawsuit “a pathetic stunt, not worth the forms it’s printed on, and should be laughed out of court.”
State Senator Brad Hoylman, the Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the bill in Albany’s upper chamber, rejected arguments by Mr. Trump’s lawyers. Responding to their claim that the law targeted Mr. Trump specifically, Mr. Hoylman noted that it applied “to all public officials who filed taxes in the state of New York.”
“As I’ve said all along, this is bigger than one elected official,” he said, adding that the law “represents an important statement on behalf of balance of powers, of which states like New York have an important role.”