“Five years of tax returns was the minimum standard set by former Republican Governor George Pataki, not to mention every other serious candidate for office. Why does Rob Astorino think he can dupe the press and get away with not showing his full returns? What does he have to hide? What’s in those missing four years of returns that Astorino doesn’t want New Yorkers to see?” — Peter Kauffmann, NYSDC spokesman
The Astorino campaign today announced that it plans to release just a single year of Mr. Astorino’s income tax returns. This fails to meet even the minimum standards of transparency established by New York’s last Republican Governor, George Pataki, when he released five years of tax returns in 1994. An interesting note — Pataki faced criticism for lack of disclosure when he released FIVE years. Now, 20 years later, Astorino is trying to get away with just ONE.
The release of income tax returns is a longstanding practice for statewide candidates in New York. This basic measure of transparency has been standard for candidates going back decades. When Governor Cuomo first ran for Attorney General in 2006, he released 14 years of returns and has released his returns every year since — making 22 years of disclosure.
This issue is of critical relevance to Astorino because there are so many unanswered questions about his outside income. While he has filed required county disclosure statements, these forms do not provide much insight into exactly how much Astorino was paid by outside interests, what he did to earn that money, or whether or not his outside work interfered with his duties as County Executive. In addition, Astorino appears to be in violation of the law for not having his outside income reviewed by the County Ethics Board as required.
Astorino’s disclosure statements show that he drew salary from two outside employers, one of which had a $3.8 million contract awarded by Westchester County. He has refused to detail what he did to earn $30,000 for a side job with Connecticut-based Townsquare Media. Local elected officials have also raised questions about whether or not Astorino is in violation of the county charter for not serving in a full time capacity.
Democratic elected officials have consistently released their income tax returns. Governor Andrew Cuomo has released his returns every year as Attorney General and Governor. Senator Charles Schumer has released his returns and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has released her returns dating back to her first term in Congress. Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli have all released their returns. Governor Mario Cuomo released his returns every year he served in public office, including during his time as Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State.