Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee released five years of federal income-tax returns Tuesday and called on his Republican rival, Attorney General Rob McKenna, to do the same.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee released five years of federal income-tax returns on Tuesday and called on his Republican rival, Attorney General Rob McKenna, to do the same.
Inslee’s release came in response to requests from The Seattle Times and other media organizations.
McKenna so far has turned down similar requests. His campaign spokesman called Inslee’s move a “distraction” but said McKenna would reconsider whether to release the information.
Inslee’s returns, filed jointly with his wife, Trudi, show a fairly simple financial life, built primarily on his salary as a congressman from Bainbridge Island. He represented the 1st Congressional District from 1999 until resigning this year to concentrate on the governor’s race.
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The couple reported $237,000 in 2011 income, including his congressional salary, $33,000 from Trudi Inslee’s consulting business and a $45,000 retirement-account withdrawal. They paid about $46,000 in federal income tax and donated $3,600 to charity.
The Inslees’ 2007 through 2011 tax returns reveal little in the way of savings or investment income. The couple have never reported more than $5 in interest income in any year. In 2007, they reported a capital gain of $610 for 45 shares of Zumiez, the Everett-based sports-apparel retailer.
Inslee also received a total of $9,211 in royalties for co-authoring “Apollo’s Fire,” a book touting the potential benefits of a clean-energy economy. Most of that — $7,356 — came in 2008, the year the book was published. Last year, the book royalties dwindled to $14.
They also reported a loss on a membership in the Wing Point Golf and Country Club on Bainbridge Island. The tax returns show the couple acquired the membership in 1988 and sold it in 2009, reporting a $5,500 loss.
Last year, when Inslee and his wife both turned 60, they withdrew $45,000 from an IRA, paying $10,000 in income taxes on the money. A campaign spokesman said the Inslees needed the cash for a new roof on their home.
The request by media organizations for tax returns is common in top-tier political contests. But candidates don’t always play along.
It has become a major point of contention in the presidential race, with Democrats attacking Republican Mitt Romney for disclosing only his 2010 returns. The Romney campaign said he’d disclose his 2011 returns in October.
Inslee’s campaign said he believes disclosure benefits the public.
“We think it’s the right thing to do, and we expect Rob McKenna to do it, too,” said Sterling Clifford, an Inslee campaign spokesman.
But the McKenna camp accused Inslee of trying to distract from the important issues in the race.
“We recognize that throughout this campaign Congressman Jay Inslee will try to change the subject, because he can’t change state government,” McKenna spokesman Charles McCray said in a news release.
McCray added that McKenna has been “very transparent,” citing his filing of personal financial-disclosure forms every year since he was elected to public office in the 1990s.
Those filings in some ways show more information than IRS tax returns — for example, showing the value of bank accounts and investments. But they are rarely checked for accuracy and display income and assets only in broad ranges.
In McKenna’s case, the financial-disclosure forms show his primary income is from his attorney-general salary of $152,000 a year.
The Seattle Times also has requested tax returns from Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, who so far has declined. Her Republican challenger, state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, said through a campaign spokeswoman that he plans to release three years of tax returns this week.
Similar requests have been made to Democrat Suzan DelBene and Republican John Koster in the 1st Congressional District race. They have not given firm answers.
Seattle Times reporter Susan Kelleher contributed to this report.
Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @Jim_Brunner.