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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hillary Clinton Continues to Stonewall on Releasing Her Tax Returns

On Sunday, I blogged the controversy over Hillary Clinton's refusal to follow Barack Obama's lead and release her tax returns prior to the nomination.  Here is the exchange between NBC's Tim Russert and Senator Clinton on the issue at last night's presidential debate:

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, an issue of accountability and credibility. You have loaned your campaign $5 million. You and your husband file a joint return. You refuse to release that joint return, even though former President Clinton has had significant overseas business dealings. Your chief supporter here in Ohio, Governor Strickland, made releasing his opponent's tax return one of the primary issues of the campaign, saying repeatedly, "Accountability, transparency." If he's not releasing, his campaign said, his tax return, what is he hiding? We should question what's going on. Why won't you release your tax return, so the voters of Ohio, Texas, Vermont, Rhode Island know exactly where you and your husband got your money, who might be in part bankrolling your campaign?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, the American people who support me are bankrolling my campaign. That's -- that's obvious. You can look and see the hundreds of thousands of contributions that I've gotten. And ever since I lent my campaign money, people have responded just so generously. I'm thrilled at so many people getting involved. And we're raising, on average, about a million dollars a day on the Internet. And if anybody's out there, wants to contribute, to be part of this campaign, just go to HillaryClinton.com, because that's who's funding my campaign. And I will release my tax returns. I have consistently said that. And I will.

MR. RUSSERT: Why not now?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, I will do it as others have done it: upon becoming the nominee, or even earlier, Tim, because I have been as open as I can be. You have -- the public has 20 years of records for me, and I have very extensive filings with the Senate where

MR. RUSSERT: So, before next Tuesday's primary?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, I can't get it together by then, but I will certainly work to get it together. I'm a little busy right now; I hardly have time to sleep. But I will certainly work toward releasing, and we will get that done and in the public domain.

Calvin Massey (UC-Hastings) is not impressed with Senator Clinton's reasons for refusing to immediately release her tax returns:

She replied that would [release her tax returns] if she became the nominee, and might make the return public even sooner. Before next Tuesday's primaries, asked Russert. Well, no. I'm just a little busy, said Mrs. Clinton. Couldn't possibly get it done by then. Really? Too busy to call her tax accountant and request that a photocopy of her return be released to a staffer, to duplicate the whole thing and distribute it to the press?

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Comments

Clinton has pledged to release her returns if she is the nominee. McCain has pledged not to release his returns under any circumstances. Perhaps you should mention John McCain in your post.

Posted by: Anon | Feb 28, 2008 10:14:19 AM

It's funny that Hillary is running on "experience", but has sealed the records from her time in the White House. How can we judge her experience if the record is sealed?

On a similar note, one of McCain's strengths is the mythology of being a "war hero", yet he refuses to release his military records. They have been sealed for decades. Why?

Posted by: Art Baker | Feb 28, 2008 12:15:23 PM

anon:
Why?

Because Clinton isn't doing what she said she'd do, and McCain is doing what he said he'd do?

Nice.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Feb 28, 2008 1:39:04 PM

If Clinton can't prove to Americans that she can handle her own finances why should we allow her to handle our Great Country. She needs to turn over all her records or be removed from Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc until she shows her records.

Posted by: Cindy | Feb 28, 2008 1:46:22 PM

Why? Perhaps because there is very personal information about the way he was tortured by the North Vietnamese that he, or the Gov't doesn't want public; perhaps there is Top Secret information in his file that the Gov't doesn't want out.

My point is that there could be any number of justifiable reasons why his record has been sealed. Don't assume the worst of the Senator. If the Vietcong shoved bamboo up your bunghole as they may have to Senator McCain, you wouldn't want that public either, would you?

Posted by: just think... | Feb 28, 2008 2:14:06 PM

Huh? Let me write this slowly:

Clinton promised to release her returns upon becoming her party's nominee. She is not her party's nominee (and, probably, won't be). How exactly do you conclude that "Clinton isn't doing what she said she'd do"?

And the comment from "Just Think" is some sort of parody of conservative-think, as far as I can tell. The posterhas taken an action from Straight Talkin' John McCain that doesn't fit into the poster's worldview, and the poster has invented scores of different justifications for it out of thin air. McCain's tax return contains very personal information about how he was tortured by the North Vietnamese? The Gov't has "sealed" his tax return? If I wrote this as a parody, it would be denounced as being over the top. And yet it truly represents the "thinking" of Republicans.

Posted by: Anon | Feb 29, 2008 6:17:02 AM

This is inane. Axelrod was in on the conversation ("This Week" with George Stephanopolous) with the Clinton spokesperson re: the publishing of tax info. As was pointed out this past Sunday, the Clinton will be putting her info out on, or around the 15th of April (aka Tax Day).

The Obama camp knows that the info will be put out shortly.

But asking the question "Does she have something to hide?" because she hasn't put out her info per his schedule is well...meh.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 5, 2008 1:22:44 PM