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No surprises in Lisa Madigan’s taxes

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

* I met with Attorney General Lisa Madigan yesterday to take a look at her tax returns. As we’ve discussed before, her campaign originally refused to release the returns, but then Madigan called and offered to let me take a look at them.

Pretty much all the income the couple reported for 2009 was AG Madigan’s state salary. Madigan’s husband Patrick has been focusing his time as a stay-at-home father and reported less than $1,000 in income from his cartoonist gig. They reported a $3,000 capital gains loss and had an adjusted gross income of just under $137,000. They paid $14,518 in federal taxes.

Patrick did much better in 2008, earning $66,880. The couple reported an adjusted gross income of $187,6612 and paid $38,432 in federal taxes. She showed me the 2007 returns as well, and they were pretty much the same. $126,656 in income for Lisa, $31,966 for Patrick, an AGR of $160,452 and $27,749 in federal taxes.

Bottom line: No surprises.

* AG Madigan’s Republican opponent Steve Kim e-mailed me his 2009 tax returns yesterday. Kim reported $69,204 in income and paid $11,314 in federal taxes. He reported income from three different sources, his law firm ($54,207 in passive income), the Korea UIC Education Group ($35,000 in nonpassive income) and S & C Corp ($20,003 in nonpassive losses).

* The Bill Brady campaign was saying this week that Jason Plummer didn’t have to disclose his income tax returns because Lisa Madigan hadn’t done it, so this story ought to be the end of the lame excuses and I am absolutely certain that Plummer will be following through soon and keeping his campaign promise to always be scrupulously transparent and accountable.

Or not.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - FillB - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 2:47 pm:

    “…keeping his campaign promise to always be scrupulously transparent and accountable.”

    I don’t know about accountable, but I’d say he’s been pretty transparent.

  2. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 2:49 pm:

    See Jason, all suspicion goes away when you release and show everyone that nothing is amiss.

  3. - George - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 2:58 pm:

    How do I get myself some of this “passive income”?

  4. - David Ormsby - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:06 pm:

    –The Bill Brady campaign was saying this week that Jason Plummer didn’t have to disclose his income tax returns because Lisa Madigan hadn’t done it, so this story ought to be the end of the lame excuses–

    Rich, “lame excuses” are any campaign’s coin of the realm.

  5. - Captain Flume - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:10 pm:

    “Madigan’s husband Patrick”. What? no last name needed if you are married to a Madigan?

  6. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:16 pm:


    When you were able to look, was ANYTHING off limits, was there a time limit, and could you ask her anything on the returns that she was unable to answer?

  7. - just sayin' - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:18 pm:

    Rich, is Lisa going to make her returns more widely available? That part wasn’t clear.

    I and I think most people would consider you a trustworty source on this, but Lisa surely has to realize there will still be squawking if more people aren’t allowed to review.

  8. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:19 pm:

    JS, that’s not my job. If other reporters want to ask, that’s their business.

  9. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:19 pm:

    Jason, you’re going to have to get off the milk carton sooner or later.

    The weather for Memorial Day weekend looks glorious. No time like the present.

  10. - curtis - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:20 pm:

    An interesting read would be poppa Madigan’s returns. I didn’t realize how long this guy has been around… elected in 1971, Speaker since 1983.

  11. - just sayin' - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:23 pm:

    Fair enough Rich.

  12. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:25 pm:

    Curtis, I’m guessing your last name is Van Winkle and you’re originally from Upstate New York.

  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:32 pm:

    OW, if there were any problems I would’ve told you. She answered every question I asked.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:34 pm:

    Sorry if you thought I was questioning you Rich. Thanks, for clearing it up!

  15. - curtis - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:35 pm:

    Sorry wordslinger… I’m not Dutch.

  16. - dupage dan - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:37 pm:

    Howsabout JP releases his tax returns during the first Stanley Cup finals game. During 3rd period. On the roof of the United Center

  17. - Rambler - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:38 pm:

    Maybe Plummer will follow LMad’s lead. It would go something like this:

    “I like this reporter Joe Blow, so I’ll show my tax returns to my buddy Joe here, and he’ll tell you everything you need to know about them.”

    I’d like to see the Chicago media’s response to that.

  18. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:40 pm:

    Rambler. don’t be such a tool.

    I asked for the returns. She didn’t approach me. More importantly, as far as I know I’m the only one who ever asked for the returns.

  19. - shore - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:41 pm:

    as a republican, this stuff does not look good for my team, we can’t claim to be new guys on the block and then act like the good old boys (to use references to a blues brothers movie band and an awful boston boys band while noting the hypocrisy in my party’s candidate’s position).

  20. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:46 pm:

    Funny, she didn’t answer every question I asked.

  21. - dupage dan - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:47 pm:

    Shore’s right, JP. To paraphrase Englebert Humperdink: “please release them, let them go…for we don’t need this, anymore…”

  22. - Ray del Camino - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:47 pm:

    Flume: If I were Patrick, it would be cool with me if my kids and I had a little bit of privacy/anonymity at school and at the grocery store. I’d say, “thanks, Rich!”

  23. - really? - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:49 pm:

    Rich.have you asked Jason Plummer? (not snark)

  24. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:51 pm:

    Have the Speaker and the Senate President said whether they’ll release their returns? (And, for that matter, the minority leaders?)

  25. - jonbtuba - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:52 pm:

    I can see it now: taking a page out of the Brady playbook, Plummer will wait two weeks, then deny he ever withheld his tax returns and challenge the media to bring proof he did withhold them, and finally say that “transparency” is a matter of semantics.

    That is, if he doesn’t try blaming other people for his problems…again.

  26. - Rambler - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:53 pm:

    Rich, I’m not criticizing you for getting a look at her returns — good for you.
    The point is, if Plummer picks one guy or gal to look at his returns, and that reporter tells people what’s in them, I think I can anticipate the media response.

  27. - George - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 3:55 pm:

    But Madigan didn’t “pick” Rich. He asked, she obliged.

    If others ask, they will most likely also be obliged.

  28. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 4:21 pm:

    Rambler … you do know Plummer is going to have to release something that will be acceptable to all who ask …

    Although Jason Plummer is a novice, Lisa Madigan is not a novice, actually moving up a ladder, (law school, personal experiences, state senate …) and understands that drumbeats get louder with blood in water. Answer the drumbeats, or get swallowed by the beat.

  29. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 4:22 pm:

    Rambler is right. Plummer can pick anyone he wants to show his returns to. He isn’t obligated to show them to EVERYONE if the same pressure isn’t applied to Madigan.

    Madigan showed hers to Rich to quell a bigger story.

    Plummer can show his to the Pena Press Paper (if one even exists–done for hypothetical purposes) editorial board and claim the same disclosure.

    Again, I’m still fascinated why so much has been made of the tax returns of a Lt. Governor candidate. Aren’t there bigger issues to deal with?

  30. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 4:25 pm:

    ===Madigan showed hers to Rich to quell a bigger story.===

    By me. I asked for them, remember. You are missing a huge point and until you stop that goofiness you’re going into the moderation que. Goodbye.

  31. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 4:25 pm:

    Giving some advice to Jason Plummer …

    If you by happenstance pick someone to review your returns, and the question of the $50K you loaned your campaign is not answered … and you try to pass this off as “all is well”… good luck with that … that will be acceptable for about 27 seconds …

  32. - George - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 4:31 pm:

    Again, I’m still fascinated why so much has been made of the tax returns of a Lt. Governor candidate. Aren’t there bigger issues to deal with?

    Given recent events with Mr. Ryan and Mr. Blagojevich, it seems some of the BIGGEST issues we have to deal with are the personal financial interests of our governors.

  33. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 4:33 pm:

    “By me. I asked for them, remember.”

    So let me get this straight: one reporter asks for Madigan’s returns, she shows them to one person and story is done. She’s a sitting consititutional officer for the State of Illinois and is running for reelection. Yet, with all the hubbub around tax returns this cycle, no one else in the media thought it was important to ALSO look at her returns. But regardless, end of story.

    Contrast that to the Lt. Governor candidate, running for an office that MJM wanted to eliminate, and yet there is some strange obsession with what his might say. Why?

    I don’t get it. There are other candidates up and down the ballot that haven’t released their returns and nary a word about it, from both parties.

  34. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 4:53 pm:

    –If Plummer shows them to one reporter, he can say he did what LMad did — maybe it will work for him.–

    He should give Rich a call.

    After Lisa called his raise, Plummer has to show his cards. It’s going to happen. He’s too much of a distraction now, and is stepping on Brady’s pretty significant Chicago TV buy.

    This was a one-day story that is stretching on and gaining worth simply because of the sandbag. Very poorly played.

    When you play poker, and you can’t spot the sucker in the first 15 minutes, you’re it.

  35. - BigTwich - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 4:58 pm:

    “why so much has been made of the tax returns of a Lt. Governor candidate”

    Because the last Lt. Governor is now Governor.

  36. - Macbeth - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 6:16 pm:

    “why so much has been made of the tax returns of a Lt. Governor candidate”

    And because these are folks running for public office. They impact public policy. They make public policy. And as we see in the case of Brady, they influence public policy that directly impacts their business (or personal or whatever) interests.

    I’m on board with the idea that if you run for public office, you have an obligation to *be* public. You can’t run for public office and choose to be private. If you do, you don’t get my vote.

    So Brady and his (bizarre) Lt. gov dude will not get my vote.

    It’s pretty simple to me. Folks make this stuff so complex. It’s not.

  37. - fed up - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 7:02 pm:

    Plummer needs to show his tax returns. It shouldnt take long its probably the EX form. What is sad is that in the choice between Brady and Quinn, Scott lee Cohen and Doc Walls are starting to look good.

  38. - John Powers - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 9:05 pm:

    Hmm…how on earth does getting tax returns of the candidates solve any of the big issues facing the State of Illinois?

    The problems of the State are not related to the accounting knowledge of the press corp.


  39. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, May 26, 10 @ 9:16 pm:

    Fearless prediction:

    Brady campaign announces reporters can view Plummer’s tax returns for a half hour at 5 p.m. Friday before the Memorial Day weekend.

  40. - anno--mus - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 2:01 am:

    Geezzzz ?

  41. - Louis Howe - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 6:03 am:

    What’s refreshing from LM’s tax returns is that Patrick doesn’t have some 6 figure cushy no show job with a a Chicago not-for-profit. Their family finances look like solid middle class, even though we know the old man is able to bank roll anything Lisa decides to do.

  42. - Festus Hagen - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 8:12 am:

    My guess is that Plummer is hesitant to show his tax returns simply because he (and his family) make a great deal of money with their numerous lumber yards and other investments. As the majority of Illinois voters grapple with trying to pay their home mortgages, credit card debt, and real estate taxes during this severe recession, Jason Plummer knows that a significant number of voters will probably view his wealth in a negative way. Few people will say, “I want to elect this guy Plummer because he seems to know how to manage money.” It is more likely to be, “I can’t identify with this filthy rich guy named Plummer so I will vote for his opponent.”

  43. - the Patriot - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 8:21 am:

    I have no problem with Rich taking a peak and he kinda made a good point saying that if other reporters want to ask that is their business. Little odd other reporters have aired Quinn hammering on Brady and Plummer for not disclosing but Rich is the only one that asked. Not to mention Brady was hammered for the limited and not fully release.

    I don’t like the tax release issue because democrats almost by definition have no other income outside of what they suck off the government so it is a baited trap for republicans.

    That being said, the ILGOP and Plummer need to sit down and take Jack Ryan 101. When you run for state wide office as a Republican in IL you don’t get to decide what to disclose and what is fair. We can argue symantics all we want, but if there is something there it will come out. The GOP needs to get ahead of this and see what he has and either make him disclose and move on, or get him off the ticket. The state of IL can’t afford an October Bombshell that lets Pat Quinn fumble around for 4 more years.

  44. - Peggy SO-IL - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 9:09 am:

    It occurs to me that the Dems are primarily earning their income from taxpayers through fulltime govt jobs, while the GOPers (and their families) are making money going out and building things, producing goods and services which people want, employing people, providing economic growth and income to fund the salaries of govt employees. [Yeah, Brady’s also a legislator. It looks like it has not been against the law to legislate and hold private interests. “Citizen legislatures.” I’d agree, however, that the legislative salary is bit high for being a part-time job.]

    Yes, it makes GOP tax returns look more complicated; and Dems can claim austerity and holiness for taking govt salaries–though I bet many have monied ties as well, eg Alexi’s family bank–that don’t show up on their tax docs.

    I do think Plummer is compelled to reveal at this point. If he had been up front about who he and his family are, no one would care. He’s at fault for being born into a productive family? The biggest problem I’ve seen in Brady and Plummer is they seem to be afraid to show who they are and don’t exhibit the courage of their convictions. That’s a dumb way to lose an election that’s theirs to lose in this anti-Dem year.

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