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Biss again demands that Pritzker and Kennedy release their tax returns

Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* He’s got a point…

On Tuesday, the Biss campaign published a counter clock marking time passed since JB Pritzker and Chris Kennedy agreed to follow Daniel’s example and release their tax returns. Six months after the pledge, and a day after the extended deadline to file taxes on Monday, Biss for Illinois Campaign Manager Abby Witt released the following statement:

“This election offers Democratic voters a choice about who they trust to fight for them: wealthy businessmen or a middle-class grassroots organizer with a record of progressive accomplishments. If we can’t trust JB Pritzker and Chris Kennedy to keep their word on something as simple and customary as releasing their tax returns, why should we trust their other campaign promises?”

It’s been 6 months since JB Pritzker and Chris Kennedy pledged to release their tax returns. To date, neither has.

Biss releases 5 years of full returns. Daniel Biss, author of a bill in the Illinois legislature requiring Presidential candidates to release tax returns in order to appear on the state ballot, released five years of federal and state tax returns with schedules, and pledged to release his 2017 returns before the 2018 primary. [4/13/17].

All Democratic candidates for Illinois governor pledge to follow Biss, release 5 years of full returns. “Pritzker, Kennedy and Pawar all say they will release their tax returns. Gov. Rauner has released his returns every year. Rauner’s last return, for 2015, showed he had tripled his annual income.” [Capitol Fax, 4/14/17]



  1. - SaulGoodman - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 9:24 am:

    He’s right. We (Dems) all, rightfully so, railed against Trump for not releasing his taxes. There is no excuse for not, unless you have something to hide.

  2. - MG85 - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 9:30 am:

    But as Trump also proved, there’s no point in giving your opponents free oppo-research. He was not punished by the Presidential election process for refusing to release them.

    That said, he lost both the popular vote around the country and right here in Illinois. Maybe Biss needs to remind them (and the public) that Illinois does not elect those who do not release their tax returns.

  3. - LilLebowskiUrbanAchiever - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 9:33 am:

    This line of attack worked really well against Trump…

    It’s fascinating how little creativity Dan Biss’ team has. I can’t think of one interesting or creative thing they’ve done. He is an excellent legislator. But his campaign has been truly weak.

    That’s all before completely and totally screwing up the one serious decision they had to make. Where they were able to alienate their core donor constituency, and the political constituency he was hoping to capture… at the same time! Quite a feat.

  4. - Richland - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    But, maybe their is information in them that is embarrassing. Or what if the people they gave money to are currently locked up in federal prison? Just a thought.

  5. - Suburban Hillbilly - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    I am against this whole idea of shaming a politician into releasing their tax returns. Strengthen the ethics laws related to conflicts of interest. Put some teeth into penalties. I don’t care if you are in the top tax bracket or the lowest tax bracket. Neither should be a disqualifier from office. Biss et al seem to think otherwise.

    To the post:
    In this particular fight Biss has a point. They agreed to do X and have not done X. The attack on trustworthiness has merit.

  6. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 9:42 am:

    If they didn’t want to release them, they shouldn’t have pledged to do so. Biss has a point here.

  7. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 9:43 am:

    Biss is right, but Trump showed that voters don’t care.

  8. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 9:49 am:

    They will release them because it is the right thing to do and is a time-honored norm of running for major political office. They won’t do it simply because Dan Biss demands it. Lol.

    The Trump comparisons are not accurate. He violate every norm of behavior. You can’t say voters didn’t care. They did and still do. Trump is a special, vulgar case of being rewarded for violating all normal rules of behavior. He may not have been punished, but the rest of us have suffered greatly because of it.

  9. - SAP - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 9:49 am:

    We already know that Pritzker and Kennedy are wealthy. Just honor the pledge to release the returns and get the issue in the rear-view mirror. They could do it Rauner-style and just release the return, without the schedules that have all the juicy bits and call it a day.

  10. - Responsa - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 9:50 am:

    I think the whole idea that people running for elected office have to release their income tax returns to public scrutiny has gotten out of hand. And I don’t care which candidate or which party or which office it is. Candidates: say up front you’re not going to do it. Tell your contributors you’re not going to do it. Tell the public you’re not going to do it. And don’t do it. Choosing not to open yourself and your family up to this invasion of privacy does not mean you have anything to hide and normal taxpayers know that.

    We should all be much more worried about what elected officials do with their power and how they “acquire” more money post-election and in subsequent campaigns than how they did before they ever considered running for office.

  11. - honeybadger - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 9:54 am:

    I think the Biss campaign needs to tell the voters why he is the best choice to be the D nominee for Governor and stop bashing the other D candidates.

  12. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 9:58 am:

    Senator Biss, I think the voters who trend D know JB and CK are wealthy beyond our wildest dreams, so what. If it means they can match Rauner dollar for dollar or surpass him and can capture the Governship for the D’s again, while at the same time matching my beliefs, then I am ok with them releasing their tax returns when they feel like it.

  13. - Six Degrees of Separtion - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 10:07 am:

    I’ve got a great idea. He should have a big sign saying “Taxes, Please!” behind him when he makes this challenge.

  14. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    Reminded me of this Caption Contest. I wonder if he used the same banner?

  15. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    === or a middle-class grassroots organizer with a record of progressive accomplishments ===

    I didn’t realize that Barack Obama had throw. His hat in the ring for governor.

    Why is Daniel Biss now running away from his record as a mathematician and college professor? Is scion of famed violinists not polling well?

    Biss changes identities more than Inspector Clouseau.

  16. - Robert the Bruce - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 10:26 am:

    Kennedy probably forgot to mail his return in.

    But Pritzker has been running a disciplined campaign. I wonder what they’re trying to clean up before they release.

  17. - Olney Cattle Rancher - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    I agree that demanding candidates provide their tax returns is getting out of hand. If you want to do it, great. If not, so be it.

    But if Kennedy & Pritzker promised to provide them and so far have not, shame on them.

  18. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 10:29 am:

    ===I wonder what they’re trying to clean up before they release.===

    They are deleting all references to Grey Poupon and inserting Plochman’s instead. It’s going to take some time.

  19. - DuPage - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 10:30 am:

    ===“This election offers Democratic voters a choice about who they trust to fight for them===

    The Democratic voters want someone who can beat Rauner. That is going to require enough money to counter Rauner’s attack ads. Biss simply does not have enough money to be a serious contender.

  20. - PJ - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    ===The Democratic voters want someone who can beat Rauner. That is going to require enough money to counter Rauner’s attack ads. Biss simply does not have enough money to be a serious contender.===

    What a tremendously awful commentary on the state of American democracy. You’re not even wrong. It’s just sad to think that this is where we are. If you can’t personally kick in at least half a million, you’re out of the running for any executive office.

  21. - @MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:06 am:

    “I think the Biss campaign needs to tell the voters why he is the best choice to be the D nominee for Governor”

    This is sound advice.

    – MrJM

  22. - City Zen - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:29 am:

    ==Maybe Biss needs to remind them (and the public) that Illinois does not elect those who do not release their tax returns.==

    Illinois voted for Nixon

  23. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    The biggest problem Biss faces is that his voice continues to fade into the background. He needs to become relevant.

  24. - California Guy - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 12:00 pm:

    The “release your tax returns” move is becoming politically weaker. Trump didn’t (and probably won’t ever) and still won. If you think a candidate is sketchy for not releasing them, don’t vote for the candidate. What’s next? Medical records? High school report cards?

    When Trump got called out for small hands, we came dangerously close to having a [you know what] measuring contest.

  25. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 12:02 pm:

    ===and still won===

    He got clobbered in Illinois.

  26. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    Brad Schneider didn’t/won’t release tax returns either. I’m not certain but I think he represents some of Biss’ constituents.

    Release them, but it’s not a big issue.

  27. - Natty_B - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    I mean Trump lost the popular vote, got less votes in key states than Romney and is historically unpopular so maybe vote DO care about stuff like tax returns.

  28. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 1:18 pm:

    Piddly stuff.

  29. - MG85 - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 1:32 pm:

    ==Illinois voted for Nixon==

    When Nixon ran for POTUS, there was no precedent for releasing tax returns. It wasn’t until Nixon was under audit that every single President released their tax returns during the election except Gerald Ford (he released summaries).

    So my comment stands, Illinois doesn’t elect politicians who do not release their tax returns.

  30. - DuPage Bard - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 2:41 pm:

    That’s ingenious tax returns. Who would have thought what a good line of attack. JB just made the Forbes list what more do they need to know? He’s ultra super ridiculous rich is the answer. He takes loopholes oh no what a scandal. This small ball stuff isn’t what’s going to do it.
    Biss needs to start saying why and how he’ll beat Rauner. End of story. Rauner won by crushing his opponents in the primary saying they were insiders and that he was the only one who could beat
    Quinn and the machine.
    So at some point Daniel, while screaming for others to release taxes and be progressive, show us the plan to beat Rauner. JB is going to outspend him, Kennedy is going to outcome him, that’s their strategy. What’s yours?

  31. - DuPage Bard - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    Kennedy will out-name ID him- sorry didn’t check the autocorrect

  32. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 4:32 pm:

    Income taxes were due yesterday for those that received an extension. Most wealthy people do not file their taxes on April 15.

  33. - JDuc - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 4:35 pm:

    Tax returns re irrelevant and mean nothing in an election. No one should feel obligated to disclose what their income is, it means nothing.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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