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Sweet: Obama team starts big push for Clinton to release income tax return.

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BALTIMORE, MD.--The Obama campaign--under fire for not being more forthcoming on the Tony Rezko-Barack Obama relationship--is cranking up more pressure for Clinton to release her income tax returns.

FROM THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN....


TO: Interested Parties

FR: The Obama Campaign

RE: TAX RETURNS: What does Clinton have to hide?

DA: March 5, 2008

The Clinton campaign today maintained that "the vetting of Barack Obama has just begun." The truth is, more than a year into this campaign, some very simple vetting of Hillary Clinton has yet to start.

In the face of her unwillingness to release her tax returns, Hillary Clinton has made the false case in this campaign that she is more electable because she has been fully vetted. When it comes to her personal finances, Senator Clinton's refusal to release her taxes returns denies the media and the American people the opportunity to even begin that process. Though her campaign has tried to kick the issue down the road, Democratic voters deserve to know, right now, why it is she is hiding the information in her tax returns from last year.

The Clinton campaign has said that they have released copious amounts of financial information but there are many questions about their private dealings that could be answered in their tax returns but not in the information that is currently available. For example, here are eight pieces of information that could be learned from her tax returns, the accompanying schedules, and attachments:

Effective tax rate – including whether or not any tax shelters were used to reduce it
Amount of income for spouses by source
Amount of stock gains and losses
Gross income for the couple
Amount earned from stock dividends
Amount of household employment taxes paid
Personal exemptions taken
Charitable contributions made

Senator Clinton has also claimed that she is too "busy" to release her tax returns. Given the fact she is able to loan her campaign $5 million, you would think the Clintons would be able to hire an accountant. The reality is that she wants to keep this information hidden from voters. The people of Wyoming, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and the rest of the country should wonder why.

The Clintons' record on releasing tax returns:

FEBRUARY 2008: Clinton Reiterated That She Would Not Release Her Tax Records Until She Is The Nominee And Not Before Mid-April. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says she won't release her tax returns until she has the Democratic presidential nomination in hand, and not before tax filing time comes in mid-April. "I will release my tax returns," Clinton said during the debate. "I have consistently said I will do that once I become the nominee, or even earlier." Pressed about the timing of releasing her tax returns, campaign aides were more reticent Wednesday, indicating that Clinton would not release the sensitive financial data during a hotly contested primary, but only at tax filing time. [AP, 2/27/08]

JUNE 2007: Clinton Does Not Plan to Release Her Tax Returns Until Next Year. According to the Washington Post, Clinton said through a spokesman that, "like past presidential candidates," she will "release tax information in the election year." [Washington Post, 6/19/07]

APRIL 12, 1996: Clinton Released His Tax Returns. President Clinton and his wife earned $316,074 in 1995, including the president's $200,000 salary, according to tax returns released Friday by the White House. The public release of the tax returns, three days before the April 15 filing deadline, shows that Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton are owed a refund of $5,656 on the $81,093 they paid in taxes, and will apply that refund to their 1996 income taxes. [UPI, 4/12/96]

April 15, 1992: Bill Clinton Made His Tax Returns Public. APRIL 15, 1992: Bill Clinton made his tax returns made public. [Los Angeles Times, 4/16/93]

Bill Clinton Released His Tax Returns In 1992 But Refused To Release Their Tax Returns From Before 1980. During the 1992 campaign, the Clintons claimed to be coming clean by releasing their tax returns from 1980 forward. But they steadfastly refused to release their returns for prior years, and only later did we learn that 1978 and 1979 were the tax years when Mrs. Clinton reported her 10,000% cattle-futures trading profit. [WSJ, 2/22/08]

1 Comment

I have read that it is not usual for any tax returns to be released BEFORE one is the nominee -- I am glad that at least someone sees this for what it is -- a diversion from O's troubles with not being forthcoming about Rezko. Thanks. It is all about the media, now. They can Olbermann it, and make Clinton look like the most evil thing that ever walked, or they can do a bit of research and see when tax returns have been traditionally released, and figure it out for themselves why this cry went out from O. The media is often either incredibly biased or dumb as rocks.

Having read the piece by reporter Brown, is it? -- what's with him saying a sit down was done with the Trib reporters. I thought great effort was put forth to prove up by questioning all the reporters who had worked on the story that O had never had a sit down with the press on Rezko. There was just that Waukegan after event thing, not a sit down, I thought. Looks like a stab in the back, unintentional that it might be. When he just managed to come up with the question regarding the other offer and why wasn't it taken on the lot???? -- carefulness does not appear to be his forte.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 5, 2008 3:33 PM.

Sweet: Obama wins (projected) 5 more Texas delegates than Clinton. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet: Obama stunning money numbers; $55 million in February; $54 million for primary to Clinton's $35 million. is the next entry in this blog.

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