Roy Barnes’ latest television ad, hitting airwaves today, ridicules Republican Nathan Deal for refusing to release personal and corporate income tax returns.
While Barnes, the Democratic nominee for governor, has put 25 years worth of tax returns on his campaign website, Deal, the GOP nominee has thus far refused to release any of his tax records. The new ad, called “Hiding,” is airing across the state, Barnes’ campaign said.
“I have released 25 years of my tax returns online because I believe those seeking public office should be committed to the principles of open government and full disclosure,” Barnes said in a statement. “Georgians want an ethical leader, one who has nothing to hide; and that is why I’m calling on Congressman Deal to release 25 years of personal and corporate tax returns online.”
On Tuesday, Deal spokesman Brian Robinson told The Associated Press that the former congressman has not ruled out releasing tax records but did not say when a decision would be made.
Here’s the ad:
The Barnes campaign is clearly trying to tie Deal’s refusal to release his tax records to questions raised in a congressional ethics report earlier this year that found Deal might have violated federal ethics rules in how he reported income from a private business in Gainesville.
In the course of investigating allegations, first raised by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2009, that Deal personally intervened with state officials to protect his business interests, the Office of Congressional Ethics said Deal might have violated rules governing members of Congress’ outside income.
Deal subsequently amended his 2008 tax returns to reflect that the money he earned from Gainesville Salvage & Disposal was “unearned” rather than “earned” income.
Deal’s tax returns from 2008, part of which he released in response to the OCE report, show he was paid $75,000 in wages by his salvage business, while congressional caps limit outside income to $25,830. Deal said the $75,000 was misreported on his tax returns as earned income when it should have been listed as dividend, or unearned, income.
Deal resigned from Congress in March to focus on his gubernatorial campaign, just before a deadline for the congressional ethics committee to announce whether it would further investigate his business dealings. Deal said the timing was unrelated to the deadline.
“Congressman Deal fled Washington D.C. because he was facing a Congressional ethics investigation — now he’s refusing to release his tax returns to voters,” Barnes spokesman Emil Runge said. “We have to wonder, just what is Congressman Deal hiding?”
Barnes’ ad coincides with the release Wednesday of a new Republican Governors Association television ad that aims to tie Barnes to Democratic President Barack Obama. The RGA has also started a website Roybama.com to chronicle the “Obama-Barnes apology tour.” Visit the site to see the new ad.