Wednesday, February 27, 2008
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.
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?