Chicago mayoral candidate refuses to release tax returns because “I don’t want to”

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Update: After a wave of sharp criticism from the public, press and opponents, on Monday evening Carol Moseley Braun backtracked on her earlier statement refusing to release financial records,  and agreed to make public two years of tax returns.

The candidate suggested earlier that she may have delayed paying some taxes, as a result of financial difficulties with a company she runs, Ambassador Organics, a small coffee and Tea company. Moseley was previously ambassador to New Zealand from 1999 to 2001.

Original story:

Carol Moseley Braun, a leading candidate for mayor of Chicago, said today that she won’t make her tax returns public, after both other candidates already did so. Asked why she wouldn’t release them before the Feb. 22 election, she simply said “Because I don’t want to” according to the Chicago Tribune.

She refused to release her income tax returns in the race for mayor of Chicago.

Braun made the statement at a press conference where she blasted the 2008 deal to lease the city’s parking meters for 75 years to a private company for an upfront payment of $1.2 billion. She claims that the city was ripped off and promised to undo the deal if elected mayor.

“There is law, casebook law up the wazoo about what happens when you get ripped off like that,” Moseley Braun said.

The other two candidates, former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Chicago City Hall insider and lobbyist Gery Chico, have already made their returns public.

According to records released by Emanuel, he and his wife made nearly $2 million over the last five years and paid more than $300,000 in taxes. The bulk of his earnings came from a blind trust.

Chico’s returns showed an even larger amount of income than Emanuel. In 2009, he and his wife, a school consultant, made $2.6 million; in the previous year, they earned $2.9 million. According to their tax returns, they paid taxes of $830,000 in 2009 and $900,000 in 2008.

Moseley Braun said she won’t release the return unless she makes it to the April 5 runoff election.

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