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Maryland Democratic gov. candidate releases tax returns

Sen. Rich Madaleno. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Sen. Rich Madaleno. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

ANNAPOLIS — A Maryland Democratic candidate for governor is calling on his opponents to make their income tax returns public after he released six years of his state and federal returns.

State Sen. Richard Madaleno became the first candidate in a crowded Democratic primary to make his returns public Tuesday evening. In a statement, Madaleno criticized President Donald Trump for failing to release his tax returns in the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump’s decision not to release them broke with decades of precedent in presidential campaigns.

“I call upon Governor Larry Hogan and my fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidates to follow my lead and release their past six years’ tax returns as well,” Madaleno said. “We need to demonstrate that, regardless of the insulting indifference Donald Trump shows to the American people, we in Maryland will walk a different path and build trust and confidence between our people and those elected to represent them.”

Candidates are not required to release their tax returns. Neither Hogan nor then-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown made their tax returns public during Maryland’s 2014 governor’s race. In Maryland’s 2010 race, former Gov. Robert Ehrlich released partial tax returns in his rematch with then-Gov. Martin O’Malley, who made his returns available for review by journalists a day after Ehrlich.

A campaign spokesman for Hogan did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Hogan, who worked as a real estate broker before becoming governor in 2015, is unopposed in the GOP primary.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, a Democrat seeking his party’s nomination, does not plan to release his tax returns, campaign spokesman Sean Naron said.

“Kevin Kamenetz is a lifelong Marylander. He has issued public financial disclosures for the better part of three decades,” Naron said. “Those records speak for themselves.”

Campaigns of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and Krishanti Vignarajah, two Democrats running in the primary, also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ben Jealous, who also is running for the Democratic nomination, will make his tax returns public, campaign spokesman Kevin Harris said.

“We’ve already began compiling Ben’s tax returns for release,” Harris said. “This kind of transparency is long overdue, and it’s ironic that many long-time politicians are only now raising the issue in the context of a gubernatorial campaign. Where was their leadership before now?”

Jim Shea, a Democratic candidate, said he will make his returns public.

“I will release my tax returns because candidates and elected officials should be held to a higher standard of disclosure, a hard-learned lesson in the era of Donald Trump,” Shea said.

Alec Ross, also a Democratic candidate, also said he will make returns public.

“I would say I’m surprised that this isn’t already required already but the Annapolis establishment has shown its number one priority is self-preservation,” Ross said in an email. “I’ll release as far back as possible.”