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Glass houses, stones, etc.

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010

* The Tribune weighs in on the issue of Sen. Bill Brady not paying income taxes for two years

As far as we can tell, Brady did nothing illegal or unethical. He took advantage of legitimate tax deductions, credits and exemptions, including the provision designed to help businesses ride out the economic storm. As far as we can tell.

But questions are going to linger as long as everyone has to rely on that three-hour peek at his tax returns. He needs to release the returns. No time limits. No conditions. Get them out there and level with voters. Answer all the questions they raise.

There will be questions. Brady is the Republican nominee for governor. He’s going to be in a robust debate with Gov. Pat Quinn about state taxes. He’s going to be hampered in this debate if folks are left wondering why he didn’t pay taxes.

And Phil Kadner tosses in his two cents

My idea of fair is that if I’m making $50,000 a year and another guy is making $119,000 a year, he should be paying more than I am in income tax.

What I’m hearing out there is that Brady should’ve paid taxes on his legislative income, regardless of his business losses. He obviously still had money in the bank because he could afford to loan his campaign tons of money over the years.

* But let’s move on from Brady for a bit. Do you remember this story from January about how Gov. Pat Quinn had kept his US Senate campaign account active since 1996?

Quinn has kept the fund alive by pumping in a series of personal loans and then soliciting political donations so he can pay himself back, at interest rates approaching 10 percent.

The end result is that Quinn has made at least $24,000 in interest from the campaign fund he controls, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Now, that’s not a lot of money in interest when stretched out over the years, as I pointed out at the time. And Quinn claims he paid taxes on that interest.

Last April, months before anyone knew about this campaign interest money story, Quinn allowed reporters to take a peek at his 2008 tax returns

Getting a peek at Gov. Pat Quinn’s taxes isn’t as easy as you might think.

Quinn didn’t make copies of them available today when he released the returns, instead requiring people to make appointments to see them at his Chicago or Springfield offices… Quinn spokesman Bob Reed said in an e-mail that Quinn prefers viewers take notes from his original documents.

Again, since we didn’t know about the interest on his campaign account, it would be tough to see if he paid taxes on that interest.

So, since Quinn has loudly demanded that Brady distribute copies of his tax returns, I’d like to suggest that the governor ought to release all of his own tax returns dating back to the first time he took an interest payment from his campaign account. It’s only fair.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - anon - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 10:39 am:

    this is exactly the reason we need the flat tax or fair tax.

  2. - George - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 10:42 am:

    I expect nothing less than full tax returns, receipts, checking account records, savings account records, maps to spare cash locations in the home, and full detail of the Tribune’s bankruptcy filings and financial books.

    Ooops, don’t know how that last one slipped in there.

  3. - George - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 10:43 am:

    this is exactly the reason we need the flat tax

    Umm… we have a flat tax in Illinois.

    We also have a sales tax (your “fair tax”).

  4. - Brennan - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 10:44 am:

    Can the Tribune just sue Brady and Quinn for access to their tax returns?

  5. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 10:45 am:

    anon, are you really that dense?

  6. - shore - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 10:46 am:

    I am agreed on the legislative taxes.

    step up senator.

    24k isn’t a lot…yes to a career public servant with 2 kids it is.

  7. - George - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 10:46 am:

    Can the Tribune just sue Brady and Quinn for access to their tax returns?

    Can I sue you for yours?

  8. - Brennan - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 10:51 am:

    Am I running for public office George?

    Doesn’t the public have a “right to know”?

  9. - Peggy SO-IL - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 10:51 am:

    Yes, we do have a flat tax.

    That 2nd “As far as we know” was rather snide in the editorial. Can these people not think through basic math? The man’s losses from his business exceeded his salary as a lawmaker. Thus, he had NET negative income. He paid taxes when he made money. That is why he released prior years’ data.

    Was it not the Tribune (or it was another paper) that sued to release personal, confidential, sealed divorce papers of Jack Ryan, thus enabling Obama to become US Senator and now pres? The media can sue for what personal information it wants, apparently.

  10. - Cindy Lou - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 10:52 am:

    Sounds reasonable to me, Rich. While I din’t necessarily agree it mandatory to release their taxes to begin with…once they have, what’s up with the peek-a-boo glance.

    Either put them out their, or don’t, but once one has, hey, fair game. Especially if one is going to toss stones and the other is going to play the town crier of people ‘can’t afford to pay more taxes’ champion.

  11. - truthman - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 10:57 am:

    According to Federal Election Commission records, over 35 individuals donated $20,500 to Quinn’s Senate Committee AFTER he became Illinois’ Governor.

  12. - Cindy Lou - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 11:02 am:

    Geesh, typing worse than normal this morning. Don’t normally come back and acknowledge my weakness or simple typos, but Cl, lady this morning is down right just bad. I really do know the difference between there and their…the ADD in full force this morning that I’m crossing thoughts with writing and producing ‘what the hecks’.

  13. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 11:03 am:

    Albeit relatively small, Quinn’s been operating a personal slush fund through the Senate fund. Doesn’t exactly fit the image.

  14. - in absentia - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 11:03 am:

    “The Fair Tax Book”
    auth. Neal Boortz

    The cover explains anon’s point: “Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax and the IRS (n)ot to mention the Social Security Tax, the Medicare Tax, corporate income taxes, the death tax, the self-employment tax, the alternative minimum tax, the gift tax, capital gains taxes, tax audits, and some major headaches every April 15.”

    With the flat tax goes tax returns and or the need to pour over them each and every election cycle. Maybe this isn’t the strongest reason for the Flat Tax, but it IS a reason.

  15. - dupage dan - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 11:11 am:

    I can hear the dueling banjos as I read this stream. There’s Quinn and Brady standing there with picks in hand goin’ back and forth. Watch out where you walk. It’s getting deep out there.

  16. - Vole - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 11:14 am:

    How does it benefit Quinn’s friends to continue putting money into Quinn’s senate campaign fund? Is this just helping out a friend, or a return for past or future favors?

    Is this 10% interest the norm or something more extravagant? Is Quinn using it to actually reduce his own balance in the fund or is he just dipping into the till?

    Political money is just too strange to understand sometimes. Or should we just not think about it?

  17. - the Patriot - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 11:22 am:

    Brady has complied with the law. This is a lozer for Quinn because we know that 10% of the public pay 90% of the taxes. Most people realize you can get away without paying income taxes. The one’s who are too ignorant to figure it out are already going to vote for the Democrat.

    So what is Quinn’s play here? He can’t say he has disclosed all of his income from private business because he doesn’t have any. He has not business experience. Oops, not good for rebuilding the economy.

    Mr. Quinn, you have contol of both houses of the legislature and are the sitting governor. If you wanted campaign laws to force Brady to disclose this, you and your former running mate have had the power to do so for 7 1/2 years. Now in the 11th our of your administration, you want to place a requirement on Brady, that you failed to place into law. If you really believed it was a necessity, wouldn’t you have passed a bill?

  18. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 11:27 am:

    If Quinn wants to make an issue over non-taxes that Brady didn’t pay, perhaps Brady should make an issue over non-bills Quinn didn’t sign.

    This issue is stupid and doesn’t effect us. It is “gotcha” politics at it’s worse.

  19. - One of the 35 - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 11:30 am:

    Couldn’t reporters just show up with a camera and take pictures of the returns?

  20. - Joe - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 11:36 am:

    Lt Governor candidates, Plummer and Simon, should release their tax returns. What do they have to hide?

  21. - just sayin' - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 11:43 am:

    Someone else already raised this, but doesn’t it seem a little odd that Brady owns an Amish furniture store?

    What does he do, put the Porsche in neutral and hook it up to a couple of horses? lol

  22. - Notlikely - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 11:50 am:

    George is right the Tribune is a huge company worth billions of dollars I am sure their CEO made Millions even thou they are in Bankruptcy. How much did that big corporation pay in taxes the last few years if their going to hold Brady’s feet to the fire fair is fair?

    I bet they didn’t pay one red cent of taxes because they didn’t have any income just like Brady didn’t he’s done nothing wrong as they said in their own article, no wonder their losing readership 10% a year.

    It does sounds like Quinn’s been playing a little lose with his campaign funds let’s see what the Tribune does about that.

  23. - Liandro - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 12:02 pm:

    I already commented on this earlier:

    I would like to add that, as a small business owner, I understand why it appears you make money yet don’t have to pay taxes. Simply: the government(s) want you to invest your money back into the economy and your employees via pay, benefits, capital, growth, etc. If you spend money on this, and thus incur losses, you get tax breaks. Basically Brady was re-investing his money in a small-scale stimulus move, same as many other businessmen. Is the governor suggested we businessmen should not do this?

    Let me make a another point: this option is available to ANYONE. That’s right, Phil Kadner, if you want to risk your life savings, like I did, and invest in a business, you too can take losses! It’s that easy! Such self-righteous *attempts* at populism are a complete fail. Phil could start a business out of his home, run risks, invest in his local economy, and get the same results. Or he could do a restaurant, like I did. Or he could stay at his much safer job. I just don’t want to hear him whine about other people taking risks and getting some of the rewards form doing so…especially when IL benefits from our risk-taking.

  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 12:17 pm:

    ===other people taking risks===

    Working for a newspaper these days is a pretty high risk job.

    Just sayin…

  25. - Liandro - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 12:29 pm:

    Haha, potentially…but at least if he loses his job he won’t be in debt for decades. If I lose mine, not only would that be the case, but Sauk Valley Bank would own all of my personal property as well. I don’t mind losing my ‘99 escort, but my house I’m kind of attached to.

  26. - Levois - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 12:32 pm:

    I think Brady would be very smart to use this bit of information!

  27. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 12:34 pm:

    “George is right the Tribune is a huge company worth billions of dollars I am sure their CEO made Millions even thou they are in Bankruptcy….” and it is company under two federal investigations — one for the ESOP one for Wrigley so their advice on taxes and finance is beyond worthless

  28. - MrJM - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 12:42 pm:

    “Brady should’ve paid taxes on his legislative income, regardless of his business losses. He obviously still had money in the bank because he could afford to loan his campaign tons of money over the years.”

    That is only election narrative the could result in a Democratic gubernatorial victory in November.

    It ain’t much, but it might be enough.

    – MrJM

  29. - OneMan - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 12:55 pm:

    Someone else already raised this, but doesn’t it seem a little odd that Brady owns an Amish furniture store?

    there are like three of them near me in Aurora and it’s not really an Amish area.

  30. - Bakersfield - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 1:33 pm:

    Bravo Rich, very well done with this one. You are on today, keep up the good work.

  31. - the Patriot - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 2:20 pm:

    “still had money in the bank because he could afford to loan his campaign tons of money over the years.”

    MrJM, thank you for making my earlier point about the ignorance of voters. You see, just because you have money in the bank, does not mean you earned income subject to taxes. A successful middle aged business man, could have save a lot of money over years. How much money one has in the bank, has nothing to do with whether you have to pay income taxes in a partiular year. Perhaps you would have been happier if he had fired all of his employees so he did not take loses and paid taxes.

    People suggesting he pay taxes he doesn’t owe, are basically saying somebody should just write a check to the government for the fun of it. Give me a list of candidates who wrote checks to the governemtn because they just had the money even though they owed no taxes.

  32. - ShadyBillBrady - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 2:58 pm:

    Amish Furniture Store …

    Really, you’re surprised Bill Brady would use someone else’s work to try to benefit himself? Seems pretty consistent with me actually. From what I hear in central Illinois, that’s pretty much on par.

    As I’ve said before - and his tax issue demonstrates it further - Bill Brady does care … for Bill Brady.

  33. - jim - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 3:25 pm:

    How about if we all pay what the law says we owe? Now there is a revolutionary idea.

  34. - InDupage - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 3:57 pm:

    “How about if we all pay what the law says we owe? Now there is a revolutionary idea.”

    That only works if you don’t collect a check from the State of Illinois…or that’s the basic sentiment I see on this site.

  35. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Apr 29, 10 @ 8:21 pm:

    Details from both, please.

    Senator Brady extolled his home building business but he is not listed as being in charge — his two brothers are. Their webiste is and there are bios of the co-presidents and others–but no mention of the senator.

    The family also has their real estate business in Bloomington-Normal. There you will see the senator listed as owner/broker.

    The Bloomington offices of Brady Homes and Remax Choice are in the same building along with Brady Properties and his senatorial office.

    Their firm grew very rapidly during the go-go years of the real estate bubble. Now, they have had to scale back due to the recession.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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