The leading candidates for Virginia governor have gone quiet on commitments both previously made to disclose at least some information from recent tax returns before the Nov. 2 election.
Neither the campaign of Democrat Terry McAuliffe nor that of Republican Glenn Youngkin has responded to recent inquiries from The Associated Press about their plans to share the information with voters.
While it is not required for Virginia gubernatorial candidates to disclose their returns, there is some limited precedent for doing so. The complete documents could give a more nuanced look at a candidate’s income, deductions and philanthropy than the state’s mandatory disclosures do.
In July, in response to questions from the AP, Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter said the former private equity executive and first-time candidate would release information from recent years’ tax returns before November.
Christina Freundlich, a spokeswoman for McAuliffe, said the former governor would share a summary of recent years’ returns before the election.
In 2013, during the race between McAuliffe and then-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Cuccinelli allowed reporters to examine eight years’ worth of complete federal and state income tax returns, including itemized sources of income and deductions.
After more than a week of public pressure, McAuliffe released summaries of three years of federal returns to reporters, withholding all information about the sources of his income and the deductions and exemptions he enjoyed, the AP reported at the time.
Also on the ballot for governor next month is third-party candidate Princess Blanding, an activist and educator who did not respond to the AP’s initial inquiry about whether she intended to release any tax return information.
Jeff Thomas, a Richmond native and the author of two books about money, corruption and influence in Virginia politics, said politicians’ tax returns should be a matter of public record.
“A campaign finance system that prevents the public from knowing basic information about how politicians make their money permits two shady gazillionaires to blanket the airwaves with images portraying themselves as avuncular everymen,” he wrote in an email.
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