“Hiding information from the public always turns things into a mess—just ask Trump!”
New York State Senator Pete Harckham, running for re-election in the 40th Senate District, released a copy of his 2019 tax returns today, which completes his tax disclosures for the past five years. Harckham then called on his opponent Rob Astorino to do the same—and make public his 2015-2019 tax return forms.
Harckham’s call on Rob Astorino to release his taxes comes on the heels of a damning report in The New York Times documenting that President Trump only paid $750 of taxes in 2018 and 2019.
In 2018, Harckham made copies available of his 2015, 2016 and 2017 returns while he was running for the State Senate. Last year, he released his 2018 tax return.
“I have always been a great advocate for transparency in government and having elected officials be truly accountable to the people they represent,” said Harckham. “By making tax returns public, residents can see my annual income and that I pay my fair share of taxes. They can also see I do not have any financial conflicts of interest.”
Harckham earned $115,756 last year and paid $17,093 in federal taxes and $5,959 in state taxes. A copy of Harckham’s 2019 federal and state tax forms are available at his campaign headquarters here in Yorktown Heights, and accredited journalists are welcome to view (but not copy or photograph) the forms by appointment during regular office hours.
In calling on Rob Astorino to release his federal and state taxes, the Harckham campaign noted that residents of the 40th Senate District deserve to know how much income Astorino earned between 2015 and 2019, and whether potential conflicts of interest exist in the work he was being paid to do as an independent contractor.
“It’s important that Rob Astorino commits to an open, transparent and accountable style of government, especially in light of his past problems with unethical governance and alleged corruption regarding the gift of a $10,000 Rolex watch that he accepted,” said Alexander Elmasri, spokesperson for Harckham’s campaign. “By releasing his tax returns, Astorino will show that he is not trying to hide anything.”
“And since Pete Harckham has released his taxes for the past five years, we are calling on Rob to so do the same,” Elmasri added. “Hiding information from the public always turns things into a mess, as Rob’s good friend political mentor Donald Trump could tell him.”
Elmasri noted that Astorino did not initially disclose how much outside income he was earning while serving as Westchester County Executive, or even how many hours a week he was moonlighting at various “consulting” and broadcasting jobs.
I agree with Senator Pete Harckham; voters deserve full disclosure when it comes to tax returns. When candidates run for office, they should assume that releasing them is to be expected as part of the deal.
Trump’s refusal to release his returns (and the subsequent leak of those returns by the New York Times this past week) has shown how important it is for the public to have this information about their candidates. It gives voters a better sense of the candidate’s potential for corruptibility once elected to office.
It’s time for Rob Astorino to put some daylight between Donald Trump and himself on this issue and do the right thing, but lately, the GOP seems to have lost its moral compass, so I don’t have high hopes that he’ll do it.