Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Kirk Calls Giannoulias Refund "Distasteful"

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Speaking to reporters after a short press conference, GOP Senate candidate Mark Kirk rips his opponent Alexi Giannoulias on the former's large tax refund.

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Mark Kirk's feeling self-righteous about paying taxes -- and that could get him in a bind with the rest of his party's ticket.

Responding to report questions about Giannoulias' $26K tax return, Kirk said that Giannoulias was saddling the American taxpayer with his own business problems.

"I think that if you are depending on a salary paid by taxpayers, you ought to pay tax," Kirk said. "The thought of someone who's worth over $7 million not paying any income tax is not dishonest, but distasteful."

Giannoulias released his taxes Friday evening before the long holiday weekend.

But Kirk also went on to draw larger lessons from Giannoulias' example, and that pedantic manner may cause problems for gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady and his running mate, Jason Plummer.

Asked how Giannoulias' return stacks up to Brady, who received a similar refund for the last three years, Kirk said the following:

"Well he suffered losses as well but he did not transfer a $390 million bill to the FDIC," Kirk said, referring to the government's bailout of Broadway Bank. "And he does not want to raise taxes."

While that's technically true, it avoids the inconvenient fact that Brady, a real estate developer, is also a millionaire and laid off a large percentage of his workforce before taking refunds based on business losses. Both brady and Giannoulias benefited from similar government tax laws that privilege struggling businesses.

Kirk also said that "all statewide office holders should release their taxes, and candidates."

That statement won't be helpful to Jason Plummer who, despite repeated media requests, has yet to release his own taxes -- perhaps to avoid the same situation Brady and Giannoulias find themselves in now.

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