Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Clinton Tax Returns: What's the Holdup?

I guess better late than never, but the mainstream media apparently is finally waking up to the fact that the continued refusal by Hillary Clinton to release tax returns for prior years is beginning to look suspicious. As I have stated before, those who have nothing improper to hide do not act the way Bill and Hillary Clinton are acting concerning their tax returns. I'm sorry, but I can only assume the worse, particularly in view of the spectacular rise in the Clinton's net worth over a relatively brief period. Here are highlights from ABC News (http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4421457&page=1):
After weeks of intense pressure, and more than a year after announcing her presidential candidacy, Sen. Hillary Clinton has offered little explanation for why she has delayed releasing the tax returns made public by most other Democratic presidential candidates in recent years.
"What is the holdup?" said Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit group that tracks the role of money in politics. "She hasn't exactly made it clear as to what process is making it so cumbersome to just release them." Past Democratic presidential candidates have set a precedent for releasing their tax returns before or during the primary season. Sen. John Kerry released his in December of 2003, and former Vice President Al Gore's were in the public domain while he was in office. Clinton's opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, released his 2006 return last April.
The lack of disclosure leaves the public with an obscure picture of how the Clintons have managed the multi-million-dollar fortune they have amassed since leaving the White House, say government watchdog groups. Personal financial disclosure filings, required by government ethics rules, only offer a broad glimpse of the Clintons' finances. Since 1999, the couple's net worth has increased from somewhere between $1.25 million and $5.7 million to between $10 million and $50 million, according to filings.
Tax forms would help fill in the blanks where the disclosure forms leave off, says Boyle, including exact amounts for income and stock gains and losses as well as details like how much was paid in mortgage interest, charitable deductions and personal exemptions taken. "In this very extended primary season and competitive environment where people are really struggling to weigh these two candidates, this would be helpful for people to know," said Boyle.

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