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New Biss video compares Pritzker to Trump

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017

* Press release…

Today, the Biss campaign released a new video encouraging voters to hold Democratic candidates to the same standard to which they held Donald Trump and demand that J.B. Pritzker fulfill the pledge he made seven months ago to release his income tax returns.

The video highlights the similar excuses Donald Trump and JB Pritzker have given to reporters and individuals alike who ask about releasing their tax returns. Both billionaire businessmen argue that it is “complex.”

“No Democratic candidate for governor should be in the same sentence as Donald Trump when it comes to accountability and transparency. How can you credibly promise to lead the resistance to Trump when you mimic his billionaire ways,” said Biss campaign manager Abby Witt. “Illinois voters deserve a governor they can trust to fight for the middle class—not another billionaire who can’t keep his promises.”

* The video

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Perrid - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:08 am:

    It’s a fair hit; I’m sure his taxes are very complex but I’m also sure he could release *something* if he actually wanted to. We need to know what his assets are when he becomes governor - even Rauner but his assets in a kind of pseudo trust. Comparing him to Trump is kinda ridiculous, besides the size of their bank account the two couldn’t be more different (IMHO), but it’s a political campaign so you can’t expect hits to be fair or logical. Pritzker should release something on it just to make it go away.

  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:10 am:

    You run for Governor, and you know this will be an issue you have to address. There will be nothing illegal, immoral or fattening in it, so why the dodge? Too much money looks bad? Folks know you are a billionaire - no news there. Skimpy on charitable contributions? Questionable sources of income, or deductions? That cat is at least half-out of the bag.
    Holding back or dodging is probably more harmful than what’s politically fearful within it. Assumptions will be made that may hurt more than getting it all out there now, and wearing it out before election da6.

  3. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:11 am:

    You get the feeling that JB has some rich-dude tax dodges that aren’t going to play well. Otherwise, what’s the holdup?

  4. - Epic - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:11 am:

    It’s a fair point, JB is constantly saying we need to resist trump but is acting similar to him when it comes to himself.

  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:12 am:

    ===rich-dude tax dodges===

    His family practically invented them.

  6. - Dome Gnome - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:13 am:

    JB would do well to just release them.

  7. - Fax Machine - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:14 am:

    In other Governor news Chris Kennedy put out a video highlighting Richard Boykin’s endorsement

  8. - John Rawlssss - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:14 am:

    JB is a hypocrite.

  9. - Lakeview lawyer - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:15 am:

    Democrats also made a huge deal over Jason Plummer not releasing his returns when he was running for LG, so this should be expected. Especially in IL, I want to know what his conflicts are.

  10. - Robert the Bruce - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:15 am:

    ===There will be nothing illegal, immoral or fattening in it===
    You sure about that?

  11. - fed up - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:20 am:

    Will not fully consider him unless he does so.

  12. - People Over Parties - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:27 am:

    it’s stuff like this why I suspect Pritzker doesn’t have it in the bag quite yet. This stuff never looks good.

  13. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:28 am:

    Robert the Bruce - re: ‘nothing illegal, immoral, or fattening’…
    Not sure about it, but I’d assume laying out your illegalities to the IRS isn’t how billions have been kept intact by the family for generations. You pay lawyers/accountants big bucks to hide any transgressions that may exist. That’s why THEY exist.

  14. - ILDemVoter - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:36 am:

    I’m a little confused– is it not common knowledge that super rich people have a hundred loopholes they hires expensive lawyers and accountants to get out of paying the standard (30%) tax rate? If I was a billionaire, I probably have had planned to be able to release SOMETHING, as this is going to be a perpetual issue when running for public office.

  15. - DarkHorse - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:38 am:

    I think it’s pretty obvious what JB’s returns will reveal: that he paid an absurdly low tax rate, and perhaps nothing at all in some years. How could it be otherwise? Almost all his income will be somehow characterized as “capital gains” or benefit from the “carried interest” provision of the tax code. It will look just like Romney’s taxes did, if not worse, paying 13%. Which could really hurt him in a Democratic primary.

  16. - Thmas Paine - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:39 am:

    “Illinois voters deserve a governor they can trust to fight for the middle class” sure as heck knocks Daniel Biss out of the running.

    Biss is known for one think and one thing only: attempting to strip tens of thousands of middle class Illinois families of their retirement savings.

    Abby Witt is known for one thing and one thing only as well: like many within the Trump White House, she refused to take a stand for accountability and against harrassment when she had the chance:

    People in glass houses should not hurl internet videos and press releases.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:45 am:

    Voters, when it came to Trump, gave large leeway to Trump, even though Trump lost the popular vote and a blue state like Illinois by a large margin.

    If Virginia taught us anything, the Trump stylings, in statewide comparisons only, are being rejected, be it the racism, divisiveness, and hate, but also the arrogance.

    Not many before Trump’s failures could get away with how Trump ran, including the “failure” to release tax returns.

    A major issue the Pritzker has… they seem like Keystone Kops when it comes to handling their own oppo and handling these taxes, knowing it’s a possible issue, but can’t quite park it by just releasing, or sound at least sincere about withholding the tax returns.

    The reality is the Pritzker Crew, again I say, when having time to prepare, they do exceptionally well

    They continually to fall well short on being able to respond to self-inflicted mistakes, compounding these holes by just not seemlingly ill-prepared for things known or brought to light now.

    There’s a sense that as Pritzker has gotten $35 million of his own dough into this race, the putting off of the taxes highlight what some may say is a negative, self-funding,

    “How this relates to the video?”

    What and how is different with JB that isn’t portrayed in this video?

    The good for Pritzker is that this will be swamped by them, ironically by Pritzker’s money that voters don’t know what his taxes say.

    It’s a video that shines a very white hot light not only on where Trump and Pritzker can be married, but shines that white hot light that Pritzker has serious questions that they just hope can be ignored long enough to win.

    That’s how campaigns go. This video is trying to stop the steamrolling.

    Will it work? Who’s gonna see it?

  18. - Spliff - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:45 am:

    wow, floundering.

  19. - JP Altgeld - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:48 am:

    Will someone please explain to me why anyone actually cares about a candidate’s tax returns? I don’t think your average voter really cares. He’s rich and probably avoided paying taxes - everyone already knows that from the property tax debacle that was publicized. I don’t think anyone really plans to learn anything from seeing the full return.

    Of the myriad weaknesses he has, not sure this is the one people really will care about.

  20. - Lunchbox - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    Good for Biss. This is a delaying tactic from JB– he is an important enough client that whatever firm he contracts with to do his taxes could get all the returns put together in a few months. I’m sure the accountants can work through the “complexities”

  21. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    JP, JB would certainly second your thoughts, I’d guess, but your points only spotlight the reasoning behind NOT showing them. He wants to be like Trump, and his ‘none of your damn business’? He’s apparently in a pickle re:tax returns. Damned if he does reveal, damned if he don’t. What does that say about him? He can dodge taxes, but he can’t dodge skepticism that arises when he seems either obstinate or tone deaf re: his wealth, lifestyle.

  22. - Mouthy - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    If Illinois/America wants to be ruled by the rich then having hidden tax returns is part of the package.
    “Most of the growth in the tax code came in the past 30 years, growing from 26,300 pages in 1984 to nearly three times that length today.” Washington Examiner (last year it was 74,608 pages)
    Now seriously how many of those pages do you think are made for the poor and middle class.
    The commercial won’t mean a thing. People don’t care…

  23. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    Originally, I thought Pritzker might be compared to Hillary a bit. The annointed one who just isn’t loved by the rank and file voters, who are itching for a non-establishment change. No candidate these days doesn’t have some baggage. On the whole, Pritzker is making way more good moves than bad. He’ll probably be the future Gov, and he’ll be in charge of an indebted, reformless state. Wish he would talk more about Illinois problems.

  24. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:03 am:

    Biss and his obsession with billionaires… It’s ironic considering his privileged background.

  25. - JP Altgeld - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    @ Anon 9:56am:

    I think everybody already assumes he is obstinate and tone deaf about his wealth. He is worth $2b and fought tooth and nail for a $250k tax exemption.

    I just don’t think people really care about seeing the actual tax returns. I agree with @Mouthy on that one.

    The whole “release your tax returns” thing is a really odd development in American political life. The ethics forms actually tell you a whole lot more.

  26. - Ghost - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    Biss: I’m not desperate! No really, It’s not like I am kennedy….. these are important issues not just political grandstanding…..

  27. - Actual Red - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:17 am:

    I agree that most voters probably don’t care that much about seeing the actual returns. But I do think voters — especially democratic voters, and especially after so much hay was made out of it during the presidential election — might care about *not* seeing them.

    This stuff helps Biss make JB seem like an out of touch plutocrat who gets benefits not available to the rest of us (which, frankly, is probably true.) I’m not sure how effective this attack is in the long run, but I think it’s more or less what Biss has to work with. Given the current political climate, it might end up playing pretty well.

  28. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    Expecting a JB “double entendre” ad to counteract this.

  29. - Sen. Blutarsky - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    JB really does need to release his tax returns. He claims to be a progressive champion, but a true progressive would release them sooner rather than later. I am sure he has done some dodgy things with his taxes.

    He needs to talk about why he did those things while also claiming that the wealthy need to pay their fair share.

  30. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    That’s it. I am not donating to the JB campaign. That will show him.

  31. - Arock - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    What he showed with his property tax shenanigan is more than enough proof of what kind of individual he truly is, should fit right in with the corruption in Illinois politics.

  32. - Dr. M - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:43 am:

    In agreement with Anon at 10:03. Biss didn’t grow up working class and, unlike many middle-class and poor Americans, he has no real clue what it’s like to come from a family without access to immense material and intellectual resources.

    His parents were brilliantly talented world-class musicians - concert violinists, and his paternal grandmother with a famous cellist. Biss has been surrounded by skilled artists and intellectuals his entire life, he attended Harvard and MIT, and is, himself, a highly intelligent and exceptional person.

    Good for him! We need more smart, educated people in state government. Biss should tout his intellectual gifts and progressive values all day long. But he needs to stop pretending his success is a result of overcoming adverse circumstances, and that he somehow knows the plight of the working-class better than the billionaires he decries.

    Biss has been surrounded by bright, creative, talented people his entire life and was educated at the very best schools. He also lives in Evanston in a house apparently paid for by some trust fund or inheritance. Somehow his wife manages to stay home with the kids (good for her), but this isn’t an option for most working class or even middle class people.

    Biss is out of touch, yet refuses to admit it. Pritzker is rich as hell and willing to spend his money to help our crippled state. He should absolutely release his tax returns. And Biss should stop acting like he’s some working-class hero and concentrate on making sure Rauner isn’t re-elected.

  33. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:46 am:

    ===Pritzker is rich as hell and willing to spend his money to help our crippled state.===

    How so?

    Because Pritzker has yet to disclose his tax returns?


  34. - LoisLearned2much - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    Biss should have compared Pritzker to Rauner which would have been true and more effective.

  35. - Southie - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:56 am:

    As strange as it sounds there are voters down state (voted Rauner 2014) who support Trump bigly, but won’t vote Rauner in 2018. Biss’ ad drives those voters to IN. It is a strange new world.

  36. - Southie - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    JB..not IN

  37. - @MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 11:04 am:

    Candidate gravely wounded by a problem of his own making attempts to gravely wound second candidate with problem of his own making.

    The general election is going to be a tougher slog than many Democrats think.

    – MrJM

  38. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 11:06 am:

    For 2016, Biss reported $32,568 in adjusted gross income and, after deductions and exemptions, a taxable income of $2,958. The returns show he owed no federal tax. In 2013, the Evanston state senator reported $54,218 in adjusted gross income and $18,116 in taxable income, owing no federal tax.

    Biss and his wife, Karin Steinbrueck, paid federal taxes of $581 in 2012, $629 in 2014 and $2,775 in 2015. Among the largest deductions he took were ones for local property taxes, state income taxes and home mortgage interest.

    It is not that complex how even extremely well educated people, who pay virtually no income tax, are constantly talking about increasing government spending and complaining that other people aren’t paying their fair share.

  39. - A guy - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 11:10 am:

    Well executed, fair, and effective.

    How effective? We’ll see. I’ve never been convinced that voters, particularly D voters cared that much about this. I know R voters don’t. It’s a loud talking point on the D side. We’ll see if it’s any more than that.

  40. - Harry - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 1:04 pm:

    Did I miss when Trump announced he is running for Governor of Illinois?

    Gosh, you would think Rauner is a juicy enough target for all the Democrats to run against.

  41. - whathappenedhere - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    –As strange as it sounds there are voters down state (voted Rauner 2014) who support Trump bigly, but won’t vote Rauner in 2018. Biss’ ad drives those voters to IN. It is a strange new world.–

    Too bad that this is a democratic primary….

  42. - Responsa - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 3:46 pm:

    Just my humble opinion but this is not the hill for Biss to die on and spend his limited funds on. Everybody already knows that Pritzker and his family are richer than Croesus and they know that rich people take advantage of the tax codes to avoid paying as much tax as they possibly and legally can.

    I do think JB’s wealth will turn off a lot of voters but it’s already out there and Biss doesn’t need to facilitate that further. He does need to focus on why people should vote *for* him–and it has to be more than “I released my tax returns and JB didn’t”.

  43. - Starstruck - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 4:44 pm:

    @ Responsa

    I think it’s fair game. Biss has every right to tactically use that against JB. If JB doesn’t want to appear dodgy, he needs to release them.

  44. - The Muse - Tuesday, Nov 14, 17 @ 5:28 pm:

    Another ad where we didn’t see Biss’ name until the end. Not as good as his last one.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* *** UPDATED x1 - ILGOP responds *** Bombshell discrimination lawsuit called "offensive" and "baseless" by Pritzker campaign
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's Capitol Fax
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
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