Dems try to capitalize on Brown’s tax return pledge

With Attorney General Jerry Brown having signed the Bay Area News Group’s pledge to release his tax returns for the last 10 years, the state Democratic Party sees the issue as a winner.

The party put out this web video depicting GOP gubernatorial front-runner Meg Whitman as squishy on the pledge, which Democrats believe will heighten voters’ wariness over a billionaire ex-CEO (and former member of the Goldman Sachs board of directors) running for governor.

John Burton, the state Democratic Party chairman, said: “Whether rfusing to reveal how much money she has invested in Goldman Sachs or reneging on her pledge to release her tax returns, Meg Whitman continues (to) play hide-the-ball with voters of this state. Whitman should follow Jerry Brown’s lead and agree to release her returns immediately.”

Tucker Bounds, communications director for Whitman’s campaign, said a day earlier: “If Jerry Brown lives up to his previous commitment to turn over tax returns dating back to 1983, we will turn over 25 years of tax returns on May 5.

“It’s a fair and important distinction because everyone knows Meg was financially successful at eBay, but Jerry Brown has never fully disclosed the sources of his income for the decade after he served as governor of California. Jerry Brown is hiding the ball.”

Steven Harmon

  • John W.

    I have great respect for BANG for it’s huge effort to make public records public, at considerable financial expense. I especially appreciate it in the case of information concerning public employee pay and pensions. However, I think we’ve gone way overboard in our expectations of public officials regarding disclosure of income tax returns and other personal financial records. There are some appointive positions where extra scrutiny is necessary to uncover conflicts of interest. However, I don’t recall ever voting or not voting for somebody based on something that was revealed from tax records. It just results in a bunch of gotcha politics and discourages good people from entering public service. Meg Whitman’s initial pledge to release 25 years worth of returns was a joke. We should be satisfied with two years of tax returns and some basic financial conflict disclosure.