This week, Democratic Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield, Massachusetts, was on the national stage after he asked the IRS to turn over six years' worth of Trump's tax returns.
Neal waited until about three months after becoming chair of the House Ways and Means Committee to make the request. Some liberal activists called for Neal to request Trump's taxes sooner than he did. He told NEPR he didn't feel any pressure after his experience being mayor of Springfield for five years.
Panelist Kristin Palpini said she isn't sure why he waited this long.
"I really have no idea why waiting was something he wanted to do," she said. "I'm sure he has a good reason, but I don't think we know that reason. I'm glad he's asking, though. That's something that nobody did before. So: go, Richie."
Neal himself has said in the past he'd release his own tax returns when Trump did, but that there's a different precedent for presidents.
Panelist Dave Eisenstadter said he thinks Neal should release his tax returns — and that there's some irony to Neal being the one who might be recorded in history as the person requesting Trump's returns.
"I think that should be expected of our elected officials," Eisenstadter said. "Neal gets a great deal of his campaign money from special interests. Money talks. It's always interesting, always necessary to the public, to see those kind of documents. Certainly it is from the president. I'm glad he made that ask, too."
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission this week held hearings into a sexual harassment scandal involving Wynn Resorts and whether the company should be able to operate a soon-to-open casino near Boston. Ahead of the hearings, gambling regulators released a 200-page report that said some former Wynn executives tried to cover up allegations against company founder Steve Wynn.
In the Berkshires, some environmental groups are concerned about the pace at which mediation is going between General Electric and the Environmental Protection Agency. The two sides disagree about what should be done with PCB-laden materal from the Housatonic River. Others are unhappy with the mediator in the case.
Northampton, Massachusetts recently received more than $700,000 in revenue from its retail marijuana store. Our panelists weigh in on whether the city can expect such "high times" to continue as more stores open elsewhere in the state.
- Dave Eisenstadter, managing editor, Valley Advocate
- Kristin Palpini, lifestyles editor, The Berkshire Eagle