Braun relents, releases more tax information

January 10, 2011 4:17:53 PM PST
Chicago mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun released more information about her tax returns Monday.

Braun first refused to make any of her tax information public. But last week she released limited information about her returns.

This is a two-track story. One is about a mayoral candidate's tax returns, and the second is about the way in which they've been handled.

After a week's worth of stories about her decision not to release detailed tax returns, Carol Moseley Braun has now released her returns for the last five years -- with attachments. Her attorneys say she is doing what her opponents did. The political part of the equation is: Why the change of heart now?

"Carol Moseley Braun has nothing to hide," said David Schaffer, Braun's attorney. "Carol Moseley Braun wants to make a full, complete, accurate comprehensive disclosure of all relevant information."

The candidate was not there -- but her personal lawyer, tax lawyer and tax preparer were there to release and explain five years of Carol Moseley Braun's tax returns and attachments.

That stands in marked contrast to Braun's repeated remarks within the past week that she had released all the tax information she intended to.

Her lawyers explained that Braun's organic tea and coffee company, and an umbrella company called CMB One, suffered significant losses beginning in 2006, and that her tax losses and low wages are reflective of what happened within the struggles of a small business and nothing more.

"Her losses result from money that she personally invested, money she made, she paid on, then turned around and invested in this company, and it lost money," said Schaffer.

The losses listed on Braun's personal returns are not detailed because they are business losses, and doing so, her attorneys say, would violate proprietary interest.

Braun's ability -- despite business losses -- to obtain numerous loans has also raised questions, but tax returns don't detail net worth, and her lawyers say that would be beyond the bounds of revealing tax returns.

But why was she adamant about not releasing tax information only to change course?

"Probably no one would want to release their tax returns. It puts your life out there for everyone to see. Obviously, she changed her mind," said Schaffer.

As recently as Friday, Braun said, "There'd be no more drilling down" into her taxes. She changed her mind, apparently, over the weekend after a full week of stories about her tax returns.

Her attorneys say they are prepared to answer questions about the returns in detail, but that level of disclosure does not include details of her business or her personal assets.