Bill passes in Maryland state senate forcing presidential candidates to release tax returns. Can this stand?

Right, because we have no clue who this legislation is meant to target.

The Democrat-controlled Maryland State Senate on Monday passed a bill that would force US presidential candidates to publicly release their tax returns for the past five years in order to appear on the state’s ballot, The Baltimore Sun reported.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci).

Vice presidential candidates would also be subject to the legislation. The bill was approved by a 28-17 vote, with only four Democrats opposed. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has not indicated whether he will sign or veto the bill.

The legislation received opposition from Republicans and some Democrats, who argued it was a direct attack on President Trump.

The New York Republican never released his tax returns during the 2016 election, despite repeated assurances that he would do so.

The Maryland state senate meets. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky).

“Show me in the Constitution where it says that’s a qualification for being president of the United States,” said Sen. James Brochin, a Democrat. “We can’t go along and make up rules when we don’t like the president of the United States.”

Brochin and Minority Whip Stephen Hershey tried to derail the bill by moving voting to a later date. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller rejected both of their attempts.

“This is the most childish bill that I’ve ever seen and I’m embarrassed that it’s on the floor,” Hershey told The Baltimore Sun.

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Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky).

One Democrat who supported the bill, Sen. Paul Pinsky, said an assistant attorney general advised him it is “not clearly unconstitutional.”

Federal law does not require presidential candidates to release their tax returns, although it has become a custom in American elections–one President Trump was criticized for not following.

If signed, the Maryland bill would be the first of its kind to become law in the country. California and New Jersey previously passed bills to force the release of presidential candidates’ tax returns, but governors in both instances vetoed the legislation.

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic).

In October 2016, the New York Times obtained and publicized a copy of then-candidate Trump’s 1995 tax returns, sparking controversy.

Last month, the president announced he will be seeking reelection in 2020. It is not known whether he will then show his tax returns. He has dismissed calls for him to do so following the election.

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