Beshear releases tax returns, asks other officials
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general released his 2017 tax returns on Monday in another indication he is mulling a challenge to the state’s Republican governor in 2019.
Andy Beshear released his tax returns on the same day he had to file his annual financial disclosure statement with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.
The tax return shows Beshear earned more than $118,000 in 2017, paid more than $12,000 in taxes and donated $2,902 to charity. His financial disclosure shows he owns stock in US Bank and Microsoft. His only debts are a home mortgage and a student loan.
Beshear’s office released an accompanying op-ed calling on all state office holders to release their tax returns. But it’s clear Beshear has one officeholder in mind: Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.
“Over the last two years, Kentuckians have suffered from an executive branch that operates in secret, fighting transparency at every turn,” Beshear wrote. “Never before have we seen this level of secrecy and a total lack of transparency in state government.”
Bevin has asked for a two-week extension to file his financial statement.
Elected in 2015, Bevin has refused to release his individual tax returns despite years of precedent from previous governors. Last year, Beshear released his tax returns on live, statewide television during a speech at the annual Fancy Farm picnic. Beshear has sued Bevin multiple times for his use of executive orders.
Last week, Beshear sued Bevin after the governor signed a bill making changes to the state’s troubled public pension systems. Beshear was allying himself with teachers and other public workers who have protested Bevin’s proposals.
But Beshear has not said whether he will run for governor next year. A spokesman said Monday that Beshear is focused on being attorney general.
Bevin also has not said if he will seek re-election in 2019.
He has accused Beshear of corruption, often pointing to Beshear’s former top deputy Tim Longmeyer who was sentenced to federal prison in 2016 for his part in a kickback and bribery scheme. He has also accused Beshear of conflicts of interest, including working for a law firm that represented OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma when it was sued by the state.
“Andy Beshear tends to engage in ‘transparency’ only when it is politically convenient for him,” Bevin spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn said. “Where was the ‘transparency’ when legal contingency fees for opioid litigation were awarded to his political friends?”
Beshear has not been charged with anything related to Longmeyer and has said he did not work on the Purdue Pharma lawsuit before taking office.