Neither Booker nor Lonegan have been as forthcoming as Mendenez and Kyrillos were last year
Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Cory Booker has not released his tax returns, despite a promise to do so, according to the New York Post.
“We will release his tax returns,” vowed Booker campaign spokesman Kevin Griffis more than two weeks ago, yesterday claiming Booker “will continue to raise the bar on transparency — both in this election, and if elected, in the US Senate.”
GOP nominee Steve Lonegan provided three years of returns exclusively to The Post. The paper said that Lonegan earned $515,280 in 2012, mostly from property sales, and paid nearly $100,000 in federal taxes.
Lonegan said Booker is refusing to release his returns because he used his office, Newark Mayor, to accumulate personal wealth.
“It’s indicative of the fact that he’s got something to hide,” Lonegan told The Post. “It’s clear to me that Booker leveraged the office of mayor . . . to gain wealth.”
The Post has previously reported that Booker received an undisclosed amount in an equity payout from the law firm he was a partner in before being elected mayor. The payout was made from 2007 through 2011. During that time the firm, Trenk DiPasquale, collected more than $2 million in fees from local agencies that Booker has direct influence over.
The New York Times reported in May that Booker has earned $1.3 million in speaking fees since becoming mayor and that his Newark home is assessed at $406,000. He earns a salary of $174,496 as mayor.
Both candidates made copies of their federal tax returns available to members of the media, including MMM, last year. Reporters from the Associated Press, Star Ledger, The Record and others, met at the candidates’ campaign to review the returns. Spokespersons for the campaigns answered questions about the returns.
By revealing his tax returns to The Post, Lonegan has proven to be more transparent than Booker. Yet, showing the returns to one out of state reporter is insufficient. Who knows if that one reporter knows how to read tax returns or what questions to ask?
Lonegan should make his returns available to any of member of the media who shows up at the appointed time, just like Menendez and Kryillos did last year, and make a knowledgeable staffer or the candidate himself, available to answer questions. The media members should then keep pressure on Booker to do the same.