After a week of back and forth, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren released six years and four years of their tax returns today, respectively.
The documents show both Senate candidates as being particularly comfortable financially. In 2011, Scott Brown and wife Gail Huff reported earning $510,856 and paying $123,642 in taxes, an effective tax rate of about 24.2 percent. The couple’s income and tax rate was higher in 2010- they reported paying a tax rate of 28.28% on $839,520- a result of an advance Brown received for his book “Against All Odds,” released in February of 2011.
Warren and her husband Bruce Mann reported slightly higher earnings than Brown and a comparable tax rate. In 2011 Warren, a Harvard Law Professor, and her husband reported earning $616,181 and paying $159,207- an effective tax rate of 25.84 percent. In 2010 the couple reported earning $954,721 and paying an effective tax rate of 27.99 percent.
Both candidates reported a sizable amount of charitable donations. In 2011 Warren and Mann gave away $17,209 in charitable contributions, their returns show, while Brown and Huff gave away $16,487, roughly 3 percent of their reported income for both candidates.
The release comes after the Boston Globe requested that both Brown and Warren release six years of tax returns- a request that kicked off a lengthy back and forth between the two campaigns.
Warren’s campaign responded that they would only be releasing two years of returns, but later said that if Brown released more than two years, she would release more. Today, both candidates followed through on their promises.
Brown and Warren’s argument over how much tax disclosure is enough is motivated by their own political calculations. The Brown campaign has been seeking to paint Warren as out of touch with the middle class, and hypocritical about her own wealth; a personal financial disclosure report released by Warren earlier this year had showed her earning more than $700,000 between 2010 and 2011. The Warren campaign hopes to paint Brown as a career politician.
However, Brown’s decision to release six years may have a ripple effect on the Romney campaign. Brown shares an adviser with Mitt Romney. Eric Ferhnstrom, the senior adviser to the Romney campaign, is a strategist for Brown’s campaign.
Brown’s apparent show of transparency — in releasing six years of his tax returns– is likely to shine a light on what some consider Romney’s avoidance of the issue; The Romney campaign has so far released two years of returns for the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. The campaign has said that Romney will release his 2011 tax returns in October, after calls from the Obama campaign to do so.