Show us your tax returns, Tom Foley

Here's a suggested question for tonight's opener of the Dan Malloy/Tom Foley election debate season: In the interest of transparency, will you and your running mate release at least several years of tax returns?

Such disclosure is not required by law, but it has become more or less routine in gubernatorial contests around the country.

Here in Connecticut, even Republican Mark Boughton, who eventually had to drop out of the race, after failing to qualify for public financing, has released his returns.

In Connecticut's last senatorial race, both candidates disclosed. Republican wrestling mogul Linda McMahon's returns ran on and on, of course, with all those zeroes.

I can suggest a preview of the answers if the question is posed tonight to the two gubernatorial candidates from the major parties.

(I cheated and asked ahead of time.)

From the Malloy camp I got a yes, I think.

"The governor and lt. Governor will commit to releasing four years of tax return summaries," came back the official campaign answer. "We are compiling the information and will release them shortly after Labor Day."

Good to know, although the "summaries" qualification could be worrisome. We will see what we get, shortly after Labor Day.

As for the Foley camp, the silence has been deafening.

I first asked the tax return question of Heather Bond Somers, who is running with Tom Foley as the candidate for lieutenant governor, in a recent interview about her company, which was financed with a state equity investment. She said she would have to check with her husband.

I then asked Mark McNulty, a spokesman for the Foley/Somers camp, who attended the interview, if he could get back to me with answers for both candidates. He said he would and didn't.

I followed up with spokesman McNulty a few days later, after not hearing back from him, and asked again. That was last week, when he again said he would get back to me. He hasn't.

It makes you wonder, if that is the kind of response reporters get from a Foley campaign, while he is running for office, what would they get from a safely-installed Foley administration?

Anyway, maybe they just don't like me, which is cool. That's why I am hoping someone else asks the question tonight.

It would be especially hypocritical of Foley not to disclose his tax returns since it was just last fall when he demanded that Gov. Malloy release his.

Foley's demand to see Malloy's returns followed his clumsy accusation that Malloy had somehow received compensation from someone he later appointed a state commissioner.

The problem with the Foley accusation was that it was totally unsubstantiated. Never mind that everyone involved completely denied it.

Foley later said he got it from two different sources but admitted he had no idea how they knew it or whether they had first-hand knowledge.

Foley then said that's what journalists do. Well, no, it's not actually. After all, if two people down at the Bank Street coffee shop told me something about Foley, I would check it out before making a formal and public accusation.

One of the more interesting debates going on recently over disclosure of tax returns by gubernatorial candidates has been taking place in Illinois.

I read some interesting observations on the practice from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who complained that GOP governor hopeful Bruce Rauner has not disclosed enough from his returns.

"Running for office and releasing your tax returns is like a rite of passage. You have to do it," Emanuel said.

Connecticut Republicans Mark Boughton and Linda McMahon probably couldn't say it more succinctly.

I hope we will hear it tonight from candidate Foley.

Emanuel's complaint about Rauner, a wealthy private equity specialist, is that he has only released basic tax forms, not detailed supporting documents such as schedules, which tell the rest of the story.

Let's also hope that's not what a Malloy tax return summary looks like.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

Twitter: @DavidCollinsct

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