Braun changes mind, releases tax returns

Carol Moseley Braun

January 4, 2011 8:36:57 PM PST
Mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun made her 2008 and 2009 tax returns public Tuesday.

When she's been asked during the campaign about releasing her tax returns, Braun has said she'd do it after the February 22nd election - were she to still be in the race at that time, and she says there's no doubt she will be.

At the end of a multi-topic news conference Monday, Braun was asked again, "when will you release your tax returns?"

"Not until after the elections...because I don't want to," Braun told reporters.

That remark was later called a misstatement by the Braun campaign. There was a change of heart. The former Senator and ambassador released her tax returns for the last two years on her website Tuesday afternoon.

In 2008 Braun lists her wages at $55,000, but with business losses of over $220,000, Braun received a refund of over $11,000.

For 2009, Braun lists zero wages and her total income at just shy of $16,000. She received a refund of nearly $1,300.

Her tax situation reflects her business since leaving politics. Braun heads Ambassador Organics, a company that makes and markets tea, coffee and spices. To keep the company moving, especially in the fall of 2008, Braun says she had to delay paying her property taxes - but they were paid.

Braun's rivals have previously released their tax returns. Gery Chico, who was pushing a jobs program Tuesday, made millions in the last few years from his law firm. Rahm Emanuel, who was talking up an after school child safety plan, made nearly $2 million over the last five years with his wife. City Clerk Miguel Del Valle's returns show his principle income is his $114,000 a year salary as city clerk. He calls himself the "no strings candidate" and says Chico and Emanuel have gotten fat at the public trough.

"It's important for people to know when they see my tax returns that I have not lived off that trough and that I have not made millions of dollars because my life has been spent as a public servant, serving the people," Del Valle said.

In a statement released on her website, Braun echoes Del Valle's remark that Chico and Emanuel have traded on their government relations for vast riches. "I have not", says Braun. At the same time, she says her remark Monday that she just didn't want to release her returns sent the wrong message, and she regrets that.

Braun did not show up for a scheduled appearance at a gay, lesbian and transgender group meeting Tuesday night. She was also nowhere to be found an a town hall event.

A statement released by Braun says in part, "My tax returns are one measure of the fight I have waged to keep my business running. It is not unlike what many small business owners and regular Chicago families are going through."