An income tax issue has Republicans attacking Republicans and Democrats attacking Democrats at the tops of both parties' tickets in Illinois this week.
Bipartisanship? Not quite.
Republican congressman Mark Kirk is running for U.S. Senate against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, as well as Green LeAlan Jones. Kirk, seeking to get past a nasty scandal surrounding embellishments of his military record, has seized on a piece of troublesome news about his Democratic opponent. Because of the collapse of the Giannoulias family bank this April, Alexi was able to write off major losses on his taxes, and as a result didn't pay any income tax last year. In fact, he took a $30,000 refund, which he plans to donate to charity.
Kirk went on the offensive, launching a radio ad that reads:
Alexi Giannoulias just released his taxes. The Chicago Tribune headline said: 'Wealthy Giannoulias paid no taxes last year.' Fox Chicago reported that Alexi is worth at least $7 million, but paid no taxes. How? Alexi's Broadway Bank collapsed from risky loans and loans to convicted mobsters. Alexi just deducted the money he lost on his tax return. Bingo. Pay no taxes, and the government's FDIC pays Broadway's $394 million loss.
(Scroll down to listen to the ad.)
The trouble is, Republican state senator and gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady, who will share the top of the ticket with Kirk in November, also paid no taxes this year. His business, Brady Homes, lost money that he was able to write off, very much like Giannoulias.
According to WBEZ, Kirk said at a press conference, "I think that if you depend on a salary paid for by taxpayers, you ought to find a way to pay taxes." Giannoulias is currently the state treasurer.
When asked if the statement applied to fellow Republican Brady as well, Kirk said it did. But he hedged on the matter, saying Brady "did not transfer a $390 million bill to the FDIC and he does not want to raise our taxes."
Meanwhile, Brady's opponent, incumbent Democratic governor Pat Quinn, made a rare move for a politician, favoring intellectual consistency over party allegiance. He had previously attacked Brady for not paying taxes, and held to that position when the news broke about Giannoulias.
In fact, he sounded almost exactly like Mark Kirk.
"I believe in the principle that if you get a public salary, you are an elected official, you get a public salary, you should pay income taxes to the state and the federal government. I think that's a fundamental principle that I believe in," Quinn said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
He even went so far as to say that Giannoulias should be donating his refund not to charity but to the state of Illinois. Perhaps thinking it could help him plug the $13 billion state deficit.
So at the end of the day, Quinn and Kirk find themselves in alignment, attacking Brady and Giannoulias together. Looks like, from now to November, it's every man for himself.
Listen to the Mark Kirk radio ad:
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