April 18, 2016

#BernieSanders has an integrity fail with the IRS — blame Jane?

Bernie and Jane, back in the romantic bloom days.
It's tax deadline day. And, it's a presidential election season.

So, it's time for a mashup post!

Some Sandernistas started Twittering last week that Bernie Sanders had released his 2014 IRS tax return, after being criticized by the Hillary Clinton campaign for just releasing a summary, originally.

Sorry, but that doesn't cut the mustard with me.

Say what else you will about Hillary Clinton, but she's released scads more, and with Jeb Bush hors d'combat, is the most transparent candidate of either party in this regard. And, Sandernistas, she had released her complete 2014 return some time back — I believe before Sanders had released even his "summary."

As a good skeptic, I favor accuracy in politics and political news. I do so enough that, while I rely on Politifact as a guide, I have had my fair amount of squabbles with it.

As for politicians? I vote for ideas first, candidates second.

Bernie Sanders is definitely better than Hillary Clinton within the Democratic party, but he's not Yahweh Sabaoth, and there's more than two political parties.

I had already seen some of these stories, both about Bernie's lack of transparency before now, on even 2014 returns, and about Hillary's actual transparency.

It took 30 seconds of teh Google to get those two hits.

Would that others would know that.

Per that last link:
All told, the 2016 presidential campaign has been an abysmal one so far for tax transparency, according to tax experts and government watchdog groups. 
“It has been pretty bad,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, an advocacy group. “To tell the truth, it’s really only Hillary that’s been fully complying with that expectation that the candidates release all their tax returns. All the other candidates have released just the summary pages . . . and not the details.” 
Without the full returns, voters can’t see such items as sources of income, which tax breaks they claimed, what they might have deducted as business expenses or how much they gave to charity, said Joseph Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project at Tax Analysts and author of the “Politics of Federal Taxation” column for Tax Notes magazine. 
“In some ways, it’s even more insidious; we’re watering down what counts as a tax disclosure,” he said.


As for Sanders blaming his wife, Jane?

Erm, I assume she's filed her 2013 return and that you're not facing an IRS lien. So, why don't you post that, or 2012, or whatever?

Maybe she's actually the reason why he hasn't released more.

Those old returns would show the $200,000 golden parachute she got from Burlington College. More on her departure from Burlington College here. And, yes, it was a gamble to buy that land from the Catholic diocese; that said, per Wiki's page on her, BC's financial flow had been struggling for nearly 40 years before that, so it was a huge roll-of-the-dice gamble.

Those old returns, per Wiki, might lead to more speculation about how the loan to buy the land was paid off:

With the College unable to collect on some promised pledges after Sanders had resigned, and the enrollment increase plans failing, the Diocese settled the loan debt with the College in 2015 for $996,000 less than the agreed amount, and with $1 million of the repayment made in shares of an unidentified LLC company.
Per this piece from the Vermont Business Journal, just what is this LLC? And were there any city of Burlington political shenanigans?

Now, re last Friday’s debate, I think Bernie’s taking some unreasonable bashing for how he would pay for single-payer national health care and other things. But, questions like these leave the window open for more.

Those old returns would show how much she has earned as an ad buyer for previous campaigns of his. 

And they might show other things.

Now, there's nothing illegal about this. (I also think there was no fraud in the BC land-buy incident, but a case of not just bad judgment, but seriously bad judgment. To put it in terms that Sandernistas should understand, it was the equivalent of voluntarily engaging in a subprime mortgage, or close to engaging in a so-called "liar's mortgage.") But, it does leave open the integrity issue, where he's generally held the high ground. And, it does give partial credence to Clinton's lament that Sanders hasn't faced much media screening.

She seems interesting enough as a person; this long bio piece at Yahoo provides more.

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