Politics
5:04 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Brown Releases Tax Returns, Then Demands Shaheen Do The Same

Credit NHPR/Josh Rogers

Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown released a trove of personal financial information Friday, including eight years of state and federal tax returns and a financial disclosure statement that showed before-tax income of more than $900,000 since the former Massachusetts senator left office in January 2013.

Brown was taking part in the taping of a Republican senate candidate forum hosted by WMUR-TV when his campaign announced the records release. During the forum, which will be aired Sunday, Brown said he hoped the Democratic incumbent, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, will make good on an earlier promise to release her tax returns if her opponents agreed to do the same.

"Senator Shaheen said if I release my returns, my wife and my returns, that she would do the same,” Brown said. “So I hope she lives up to her word and releases her returns, so that she can be just as transparent as I am."

Shaheen’s campaign spokesperson Harrell Kirstein said in an email that Shaheen’s returns - which she files jointly with her husband, William Shaheen, a co-founder of the Shaheen & Gordon law firm - should be “available for review soon.”

“The Senator said she would release her tax returns and she will,” he said.

Brown’s campaign made his 2006-2013 returns - filed jointly with his wife, Gail Huff, a former television reporter - available for reporters at his headquarters in Manchester. The eight-year period includes the final four years of Brown’s tenure in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and eight years of service with the Maryland National Guard, from which he officially retired in May.

“Scott Brown is going above and beyond what the law requires in terms of disclosure,” said Colin Reed, Brown’s campaign manager, in a statement. “By releasing eight years of joint tax returns, the Browns are proving they are committed to transparency and accountability.”

Brown and Huff reported income that ranged from $275,921 in 2007 to $839,529 in 2010, Brown’s first year in the Senate after winning a special election to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Brown reported more than $1 million in sales of his 2011 book, “Against All Odds.”

The couple paid $893,000 in federal taxes over the eight-year period, according to the filings, an average tax rate of about 27 percent. The couple reported almost $75,000 in charitable donations during that time.

In 2013, after Brown lost his bid for re-election to the Senate, the couple reported $474,080 in income. That included $108,173 from Fox News, where Scott Brown was an on-air commentator, and more than $100,000 from the legal firm Nixon, Peabody.

Brown also reported receiving more than $207,000 from Kadant, Inc., as a member of the paper company’s board of directors; $41,666 as co-chair of the Bipartisan Coalition for American Security; and $31,916 as an advisor to 1st Alliance Lending, a Connecticut home mortgage lender.

In May, Brown asked for more time to file his personal financial disclosure, required of all federal candidates, and was given until August 9.

But pressure to share the information grew after the Boston Globe reported Brown’s ties to an obscure Florida company, Global Digital Solutions Inc., that claims to be in the firearms business. Last September, the outfit hired Brown as an advisor in exchange for $1.3 million in stock options, even though, according to the Globe, GDSI had “no revenue, no patents, no trademarks, no manufacturing facilities, and no experience developing weapons.”

Brown resigned from the company and relinquished his stock options June 4, less than two hours after officially filing for his senate run.

According to the financial disclosure released Friday, Brown reported that the GDSI stock had not yet vested and he received no other compensation from the company.

Brown did report receiving $186,514 in honoraria for 20 speeches between January 2013 and May 2014 – including $20,000 for an appearance at this year’s SkyBridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference, a global gathering of investment managers. He was also paid $20,000 in speaking fees by the Royal Bank of Scotland and $12,000 by the Government of Taiwan.

Brown’s assets include shares in more than 20 companies, a handful of mutual funds and 10 retirement plans. However, the value of the individual assets are reported in a broad range - $1,001 - $15,000, for example – making it impossible to determine the overall value of the portfolio.

Brown reported liabilities – two loans, a home mortgage and a line of credit – of between $550,000 and $1.25 million.

Shaheen’s most recent financial disclosure reports assets worth between $3.7 million and $7.9 million and liabilities of between $2 million and $4.2 million.

Brown is seeking the Republican senate nomination along with former state senator Jim Rubens and Bob Smith, a former U.S. senator. Rubens and Smith have filed personal financial disclosures, but have declined to release their tax returns.

“The existing ethics disclosure forms give people exactly what they need to know,” Rubens said.