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Matt Entenza discusses his refusal to release tax returns


A reporter question made news this week.  Brian Bakst from the AP asked Mark Dayton if he would release his income tax returns at an unrelated press conference.  After a long pause, Dayton said he’d release a summary within two weeks.  That unanticipated question became the campaign news of the week.  All the other candidates had to quickly figure out what they were going to do.  A surprising mix of reactions resulted.  To review:  Dayton & Kelliher will release their returns, Entenza & Emmer will not, Horner is considering it.  We asked all the campaigns about the issue, some just released statements, others were happy to elaborate.


We talked with Entenza who won’t release his returns and had him respond to Kelliher’s comment that “It’s important for Minnesotans to know how their next governor earns a living.”  Entenza said “I’m campaigning full-time for governor that’s what I’m doing.”  When I pushed back about just how he earns a living, Entenza responded that he complies with the current law and he has actually supported more candidate disclosure in the past.  The broader question is who is a millionaire and who can relate to voters. 


IP-endorsed Tom Horner told me in an interview “I’m not a millionaire, I’ve never earned a million dollars in a year.”  Horner will wait to see what the others release “and if there’s value to voters I’ll talk to my family and we’ll consider it.”  Entenza and Republican Tom Emmer both mentioned that the public can see their economic disclosure statements already filed with the state.  We’ll look into just what the candidates are disclosing when it comes to their assets and property tonight on Almanac.  It’s in an updated format we call Campaign Notebook where we take a look at the week’s political news with a new media perspective.

Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Arnie Hillmann on 06/26/2010 - 09:31 am.

    Any candidate who won’t make their financial information available clearly is not trustworthy and probably has something to hide.

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 06/26/2010 - 05:24 pm.

    “The broader question is who is a millionaire and who can relate to voters.”

    Being wealthy didn’t stop Franklin Roosevelt or Bobby and Ted Kennedy from “relating to voters” and seeking economic justice for all.

  3. Submitted by Howard Salute on 06/28/2010 - 12:16 pm.

    “I’m not a millionaire, I’ve never earned a million dollars in a year.”

    I like Tom Horner. I think he has the potential for being a great governor. But frankly, I’m disappointed by his answer. Is he defining a millianaire as someone who earns a million dollars a year?? My definition of a millionare is someone who has net worth of at least one million. And frankly, if Horner doesn’t have net worth of at least one million, then perhaps Himle Horner is not as successful as I believed. I have a high degree of respect for people who have earned their wealth. In my mind, they stand apart from people who have inherited their wealth.

  4. Submitted by Howard Miller on 06/28/2010 - 01:35 pm.

    Income tax information is relevant concerning those who seek statewide or national office. the influence of money on politics is both obvious and, at times, quite insidious.

    Knowing from whom candidates’ incomes were earned does inform citizens about likely policy preferences.

    Look at Senator Nelson of Nebraska – his stint as a CEO of an insurance group surely played a role in his obstruction of insurance reform and health care insurance reform in particular.

    Mr. Etenza needs to be forthcoming. Trust is earned, not assumed, when it comes to politicians.

  5. Submitted by Francis Ferrell on 06/29/2010 - 01:03 pm.

    If anyone running for public office won’t reveal/release their personal income tax returns for the general electorate to see then please do not try to solicit [electioneer] my vote.

    Politicians who are running for office put themselves on the glaring pedestal of public scrutiny. It doesn’t matter to me if, for example, Matt Entenza was an unemployed homeless bankrupt millionaire who was running for governor to make a political statement. Revealing his tax returns would only reinforce his case in point. What is there to hide?

    In the end the tax returns revealed would only prove he is human, open to scrutiny, and showing his desire to seek the public trust. It’s a political misstep not to do otherwise. Revealing this personal income information is the first step in trying to get the electorate to see who you are and what you eventually will stand for.

    So go ahead and hide behind a cloak of ‘none of your business’ by not following political custom to reveal income tax returns. I’ll follow suit by taking my political research and my vote to someone else.

  6. Submitted by Jeff Goldenberg on 06/30/2010 - 11:45 am.

    Running for public office has become an incredibly invasive activity for anyone seeking federal or statewide office. Entenza, Kelliher and Dayton are six weeks from D-Day. One of them will earn a place on November’s ballot and two will go home.

    Entenza’s refusal to release is either an acknowledgement that he has no chance at the DFL Nomination or the proverbial nail in the coffin. My hunch is the former. If he (and his wife)thought he had a chance he’d (they’d) suck it up and disclose.

    Some kept men keep busy with workouts, golf, travel and the like. Others half-heartedly pursue a pretentious run at higher office.

  7. Submitted by James Hamilton on 06/30/2010 - 05:06 pm.

    It’s really none of our business how much they have or earn. We do have a legitimate interest in knowing what they’re invested in.

  8. Submitted by Herbert Davis on 07/02/2010 - 07:04 am.

    If you Google the “history of federal income tax rates” you can see why any rich democrat would be reluctant to show the tax breaks our society now affords!—– Original Message —–

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