CHICAGO – Gov. Pat Quinn called on Republican challenger Bruce Rauner to release complete income tax returns, saying Tuesday that the documents could reveal potential conflicts of interest or tax loopholes ahead of November.
Top Democrats supporting Quinn have been raising questions about what’s contained in years of returns detailing the multimillionaire venture capitalist’s income and investments. They’ve deemed it a matter of transparency. But Rauner’s campaign called it a “political stunt” distracting from other issues and confirmed Tuesday that Rauner filed for an extension and would release his 2013 returns sometime ahead of the Nov. 4 election.
Rauner has already made public state and federal returns for three years: 2010, 2011 and 2012. But Quinn said they don’t contain detailed schedules, which offer more information about Rauner’s business dealings and how he made his wealth.
“We don’t need a loophole governor,” Quinn said at a Chicago plumbers’ hall. “The schedules tell the tale. All the detail is needed to determine if there are conflicts of interest and what loopholes are being used by Mr. Rauner to slash his tax burden and shift that burden onto working people.”
Quinn said Rauner should act quickly with voters being able to apply for absentee ballots in September.
Rauner’s spokesman Mike Schrimpf said the Winnetka businessman filed for a six-month extension of the April 15 filing deadline and would make his 2013 returns public before the election. He said Quinn was trying to distract voters from the Chicago Democrat’s push to extend the state’s temporary income tax increase.
“Bruce already pro-actively released three years of his state and federal tax returns,” Schrimpf said. “This is nothing but a political stunt.”
When and if candidates release tax returns has long cropped up in gubernatorial races.
GOP and Democratic nominees have often made them available, at times without fanfare and some not until weeks before the election.
Other times, it’s became a major issue, such as in 2006 when Judy Baar Topinka released some tax documents during the GOP primary and publicly challenged her opponents to do the same. After winning the party’s nomination, she also made her 2005 documents available. Topinka, who’s seeking another term as state comptroller, lost the general election to Rod Blagojevich. The Chicago Democrat filed for extensions in election years.
Quinn’s focus on Rauner’s wealth and business dealings has emerged as a campaign theme during one of the most competitive governor’s races nationwide.
The Chicago Democrat has portrayed himself as being concerned about issues for working people. Rauner, who’s seeking public office for the first time, claims another Quinn term would be politics as usual and he has the experience to improve Illinois’ business climate.
Tax returns for Quinn – who releases his hand-written tax returns annually – show he made about $161,000 last year. Rauner’s 2012 returns show the Winnetka businessman made $53 million that year.
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Associated Press writer Sara Burnett contributed to this report.