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TNDP Calls on Haslam to Disclose Income

Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; June 19, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On the heels of three guilty pleas tied to a scandal embroiling Gov. Bill Haslam’s Pilot Flying J truck stop chain, the Tennessee Democratic Party is calling for the governor to release his tax returns and show how much he makes annually from Pilot Oil and other investments.

On Tuesday, three more Pilot Flying J employees pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a scheme that padded corporate profits by defrauding small business owners and trucking companies of millions worth of rebates. Two additional employees of the $30 billion company pleaded guilty in May.

“With five guilty pleas, we know Gov. Haslam’s company Pilot Oil stole from working and middle class family businesses, but the question of how much money poured into the governor’s personal fortune from this fraud remains unanswered,” said Brandon Puttbrese, party spokesman. “We don’t know because Gov. Haslam is hiding his income.”

For years, Republican and Democratic governors in Tennessee have embraced the values of open and honest governing by voluntarily releasing their tax returns.

“Tennesseans are due the same financial transparency from Haslam that other governors — whose companies weren’t the subject of fraud investigations — have shown,” Puttbrese said. “It is clear Haslam prefers to work in secret, but our democracy is built on accountability, and we can’t hold politicians accountable when they refuse to come clean on simple matters like releasing their tax returns.”

In May, the TNDP posted an online petition asking citizens to add their name in support of calling on the governor to release his tax returns.

Background

Haslam Broke “Tradition” of Releasing Returns. Bill Haslam’s refusal to release his tax returns during the gubernatorial campaign (and in years following) breaks “a long tradition of governors disclosing their returns voluntarily. Republican governors including Lamar Alexander and Don Sundquist did so, along with Democrats including Ned McWherter and Phil Bredesen.” [KnoxNews.com, 10/9/11]

Haslam’s First Decision As Governor: Hide Pilot Income. “Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has signed an executive order that eliminates a requirement for the governor and top aides to disclose how much they earn.” [Associated Press, KnoxNews.com, 1/16/11]

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Press Releases

Wamp Releases 2009 Federal Tax Return

Press Release from Zach Wamp for Governor; April 29, 2010:

Challenges Haslam, Ramsey to Join Him in Being Fully Open, Transparent

NASHVILLE – Zach Wamp, Republican candidate for Governor, today released to the Tennessee Newspaper Network and the Associated Press his family’s 2009 federal tax return. In doing so, Wamp renewed his challenged to Bill Haslam and Ron Ramsey to be as fully open and transparent about their own income from any personal or business holdings, as well as all conflicts of interest that could arise from those holdings were they to be elected Tennessee governor.

Wamp also pledged to continue to voluntarily release his personal income tax return and finances each year he serves as the state’s chief executive.

“I want to be as open and transparent as possible with the people of Tennessee about my personal finances and business holdings while serving as governor,” Wamp said. “Public service for me has never been about acquiring more money or power. It’s been about making a positive impact on the lives of the people I’ve been elected to serve. That’s why I’m fully disclosing my taxes and finances to avoid even the hint of a conflict while I am governor, and why I’ve once again challenged my opponents to change their minds and do the same.”

In December, Wamp voluntarily released his personal tax returns from the last five years and a detailed financial statement itemizing all of his family’s financial information to the Tennessee Newspaper Network (TNN), exceeding the network’s request for income tax data from just the three previous years.

Both Ron Ramsey and Bill Haslam have refused to comply with the TNN request, with Ramsey releasing only his federal 1040 forms, but with no details or support schedules, while Haslam has yet to release any copies of his tax returns or disclose any details about his annual income from Pilot Oil, his family’s business, or the amount of taxes he owed or paid from that income.

Ramsey earlier this month told the media that Haslam’s annual income is in excess of $60 million, but Haslam has chosen not to disclose even an approximation of his annual income from Pilot Oil, which conducts business in several heavily state-regulated areas that Haslam would oversee if elected governor.

In addition to Pilot Oil being an active state player and corporate beneficiary from the sale of gasoline, tobacco, beer and lottery tickets in Tennessee, Bill Haslam and the co-owners of Pilot Oil retain a registered state lobbyist who works in Nashville to watch over their many other state- regulated concerns in trucking, environmental regulation, etc.

“Both the general public and our Republican Party should be wary of any candidate who refuses to be open and transparent about his income and related conflicts of interest on issues he will be called on to oversee in government,” Wamp said. “And if you have a paid lobbyist working for you in Nashville, while also making millions of dollars each year from state-regulated interests, then you run the risk of forfeiting the right to serve if you flat out refuse to put it all on the table for Tennessee taxpayers to clearly see.”

For more information about Zach Wamp and his campaign for governor, please visit the campaign online at www.ZachWamp.com.