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Candidate’s tax returns show ‘mountain’ of student debt

August 1, 2019
FILE - In Nov. 2, 2018 file photo, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver attends a rally for Democratic political candidates at an arts and entertainment center in Santa Fe, N.M. Oliver is reading aloud special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to highlight her support for immediate impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Oliver on Monday, July 22, 2019, read the report from her home kitchen table for a social media broadcast, in anticipation of Mueller's scheduled testimony this week before Congress. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, File)
FILE - In Nov. 2, 2018 file photo, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver attends a rally for Democratic political candidates at an arts and entertainment center in Santa Fe, N.M. Oliver is reading aloud special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to highlight her support for immediate impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Oliver on Monday, July 22, 2019, read the report from her home kitchen table for a social media broadcast, in anticipation of Mueller's scheduled testimony this week before Congress. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, File)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Maggie Toulouse Oliver released her 2018 state and federal tax returns Wednesday in what her campaign called a good faith effort to be candid with voters, while urging her campaign rivals to do the same ahead of 2020 elections.

The tax documents for Toulouse Oliver — New Mexico’s top campaign finance regulator in her elected role as secretary of state — show that she paid nearly $10,000 in taxes on roughly $75,000 in taxable income last year.

Campaign spokeswoman Heather Brewer said the release of the tax returns shows Toulouse Oliver, who earns an $85,000 annual state salary, had nothing to hide as a “hard-working, single mom with a mountain of student loan debt.”

Toulouse Oliver reported paying about $2,900 in interest alone in 2018 on at least $60,000 in student loans for her own education at the University of New Mexico and that of her older son, who attends community college. She was able to deduct $650 of the money spent on loan interest. She holds at least $30,000 in credit card debt.

“The public needs to know that elected officials don’t have conflicts of interest and that they are who they say they are,” Brewer said in a statement. “In the case of Donald Trump, his tax returns likely show that he is not the successful billionaire he claims to be.”

Congressman Ben Ray Luján, the only other Democratic seeking to succeed Sen. Tom Udall as he retires next year, has declined to release his tax returns because it is not a legal requirement.

Luján is one of the House Democrats pressing President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, even though Trump is not legally required to do so.

Luján said in an email through his campaign that he “files an annual financial disclosure package that gives a thorough and complete view of his finances. It is available to the public and shows Ben Ray’s commitment to transparency.”

Filed with the House of Representatives, the congressman’s three-page annual financial disclosure form for 2018 lists interest payments of $600 or less on savings and checking accounts as his only source of outside income beyond a $174,000 congressional salary.

Luján’s assets include a home ranch in Nambé and state pension benefits of between $50,000 and $100,000 tied to prior stints as a utilities regulator and employee of two other state agencies.

Candidates in last year’s gubernatorial race released tax records to varying degrees. Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham, who won the election, released tax returns going back five years.

Gavin Clarkson, the only announced Republican Senate candidate in 2020, has declined to provide tax returns. He filed an extension until mid-August to fill out financial disclosures required of Senate candidates about personal income, household assets, financial liabilities and any sources of compensation over $5,000.

Clarkson ran against Toulouse Oliver for secretary of state in 2018 and lost by 20 percentage points.

In her disclosure forms as a Senate candidate, Toulouse Oliver noted additional income of at least $5,000 through a leadership fellowship with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Brewer said the income began this year and will reported to the IRS with 2019 filings.

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