Attorney General Andy Beshear released his 2017 income tax returns Monday and urged every office holder, including Gov. Matt Bevin, “to embrace transparency and release their returns.”
Beshear, a Democrat, also said he filed his annual financial disclosure statement with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission on April 9.
Beshear’s chief political opponent, Bevin, has declined to make public his income tax returns. Democrats tried to make it an issue against him in the 2015 governor’s race, which Bevin won.
Elizabeth Kuhn, communications director for Bevin, did not address Bevin’s refusal to release his tax returns in a statement Monday, but instead accused Beshear of engaging “in ‘transparency’ only when it is politically convenient for him.”
The ethics commission said the Republican governor was granted a two-week extension to file his financial disclosure form. Bevin’s request for the extension said he needed more time because he was busy during the final days of the 2018 legislative session.
Beshear, in an op-ed piece, said Kentuckians “have suffered from an executive branch that operates in secret, fighting transparency at every turn” and a Republican-controlled General Assembly that operates “through secret backroom deals, preventing you, the public, from participating in the lawmaking process.”
He mentioned the legislature’s decision in the final days of this year’s session of changing a sewage bill into public pension laws “that are rushed through passage without public comment or even the time for legislators to read the bills.”
Beshear, who is mentioned as a possible candidate for governor next year, said public officials “have a duty to show you that they are not controlled by special interests such as opioid manufacturers or for-profit charter school companies.”
He noted that last year he became the first attorney general in Kentucky not seeking election to publicly release his tax returns.
He said his tax returns “make it clear that my only sources of income are from my state salary and a single stock dividend.”
His federal returns, filed with his wife, Britainy Beshear, showed exemptions for their two children, and an adjusted gross income of $118,300 with $2,902 given to charity. They had $19,475 in itemized deductions and taxes of $12,197. Their state taxes were $5,196.
Beshear’s financial disclosure form showed that his wife and he had two debts of more than $10,000 each — a student loan with Sallie Mae of Neward, Del., and a mortgage with Everhome Mortgage in Jacksonville, Fla.
The Beshears said they had more than $10,000 each in U.S. Bank stock in Minneapolis and Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, Wash. They listed an honorary club membership in the Frankfort Country Club with a retail value of more than $200.