Maryland Senate passes bill requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns

The Maryland state Senate passed a bill Monday requiring that all presidential candidates release their tax returns in order to appear on the state’s ballot.

The senate passed the bill 28-17, with all but four Democrats supporting the measure, The Baltimore Sun reported. The legislation also applies to vice presidential candidates.

Republicans, as well as some Democrats, slammed the bill for too clearly targeting President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos MORE. Trump broke with decades of precedent by not releasing his tax returns during the 2016 presidential race.


Trump claimed he couldn't release the returns because of an ongoing audit. However, the IRS said nothing was preventing Trump from sharing the documents.

“This is the most childish bill that I’ve ever seen and I’m embarrassed that it’s on the floor,” Minority Whip Stephen Hershey (R) said, according to The Baltimore Sun.

But Democrats defended the measure. Sen. Paul Pinsky (D) said an assistant attorney general found that the bill was “not clearly unconstitutional.”

The bill now heads to Maryland’s Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has not said if he would sign the bill into law.

Maryland would be the first state to pass such a law. Both New Jersey and California have attempted to pass similar measures, but both bills were vetoed.

There is debate over whether a law requiring candidates release their returns would be constitutional. A 1995 Supreme Court decision found that states adding new qualifications for federal candidates “would erode the structure designed by the Framers to form a ‘more perfect Union,’” law professor Richard Hasen noted in Politico.

However, Article II of the Constitution says that states can “direct” “the manner” for choosing presidential electors, and the Supreme Court gave state legislatures broad powers in presidential elections in its ruling for Bush v. Gore. This opened the door for states to set limits on the candidates offered on the ballot, Hasen argues.

Updated at 12:36 p.m.