April 18 (Bloomberg) — John McCain, who has clinched the Republican presidential nomination, reported $405,409 in income last year and paid $118,660 in federal taxes, according to tax returns made public today. He gave $105,467 to charity, the records show.
His campaign didn’t release tax returns for his wife, Cindy, who is chairman of the Phoenix-based Hensley & Co., one of the largest beer distributors in the U.S.
“My wife and I, we have separate incomes, we have a prenuptial agreement, and her business is her business,” McCain said in an interview. “I have never been involved in it since before I ran for the Congress of the United States, so I just feel that she has a right to a separate tax return.”
Yeah, it’s not like he barbecues at any of those mansions she owns or anything!
The disclosure of tax information has become an issue in the presidential campaign. Illinois Senator Barack Obama released his tax information in March and then pressured his rival for the Democratic nomination, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, to disclose her tax records. She did so on April 4.
McCain’s income came from his $161,708 Senate salary, $23,157 in Social Security benefits, $176,508 in book royalties and a Navy pension. The remaining income comes from a share of his wife’s income which, under Arizona’s community property law, he must claim.
McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said making Cindy McCain’s tax information public would violate the privacy of their two children who are still claimed as dependents.
Does anyone else smell something?
The Associated Press estimated this month that Cindy McCain is worth more than $100 million based on the value of her late father’s stake in Hensley & Co.
In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry disclosed a portion of the tax returns of his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, heir to a $500 million fortune, three weeks before the election.
Hazelbaker said Cindy McCain’s situation differs from Teresa Heinz Kerry’s because she asserted that Kerry’s wealth helped fund her husband’s campaign and Cindy McCain hasn’t loaned her husband money.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the failure to release Cindy McCain’s returns shouldn’t fly with voters because transparency has been “a signature issue for John McCain,” and not releasing her information smacks of hypocrisy.
Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean also assailed McCain — ranked last fall by Roll Call newspaper as the ninth richest member of Congress — for not releasing his wife’s taxes and for making public only two years of returns. He said McCain was “releasing less information about his tax returns than any other candidate since Ronald Reagan,” continuing “a troubling pattern of thinking the rules don’t apply to him.”
The Clintons’ tax information goes back three decades; the Obamas have released eight years.
Tom Ochsenschlager, vice president of taxation at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, said releasing Cindy McCain’s tax returns wouldn’t violate the children’s privacy because details of investments affecting them would be on forms filed by a separate trust.
“They’re playing it both ways,” Ochsenschlager said. “They’re splitting the income, income that you would have anticipated, but not showing you their passive income.” Given Cindy McCain’s wealth, he said, “they have some passive income somewhere they’re not showing.”
From the Los Angeles Times:
The McCains own four homes across the nation and employ a staff of at least four that in 2007 cost about $273,000, half of which was listed on the senator’s tax return. McCain and his wife’s properties, all held mortgage-free, include their creek-side ranch outside Sedona, Ariz. In 2006, they purchased a $4.7-million condo in Phoenix; and in 2004, she bought a $2.6-million beachfront property near the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego County, according to property records.
Despite the large real estate holdings and his wife’s business empire, the senator appears to own few income-producing assets individually. In 2007, he reported interest income of just $48 and dividends of $74.
Asked whether his wife was supporting him, McCain’s campaign staff offered a separate income calculation for 2007 showing that the senator’s surplus income after expenses amounted to about $64,000 and suggested that he was providing for himself.
By contrast, Cindy McCain reported assets of more than $1 million in a single Chase Bank account and assets of up to $1 million in each of about three dozen accounts and investments, according to a 2006 Senate financial disclosure report.
Cindy McCain inherited ownership of Hensley & Co., said to be the nation’s third-largest Anheuser-Busch distributor with sales estimated at $178 million, from her late father, James Hensley, according to financial information company Dun & Bradstreet.