Tag Archives: disclose

Editorial: Haslam Should Disclose Personal Payments to Ingram

Excerpt from a News Sentinel editorial on Gov. Bill Haslam hiring Tom Ingram with personal funds to serve as a consultant:
Haslam has said he still consults Ingram on political matters but pays for that advice out of pocket. The campaign finance disclosure forms he has submitted since his election show no payments to Ingram.
But they should.
Drew Rawlins, who is the executive director of the Bureau of Ethics and Election Finance, said in an interview that an officeholder’s out-of-pocket payments for a consultant are not necessarily required to be included on disclosures. If an officeholder seeks advice on governance, he or she might not have to report the payment. If the candidate receives campaign advice, Rawlins said, disclosure would be required.
The solution is simple. Haslam should file amended campaign finance disclosure forms that reflect Ingram’s pay for political advice. And he should transfer funds to his campaign account to cover the costs. Though not necessarily required by the letter of the law, disclosure would enhance the governor’s standing as a proponent of openness.
As governor, Haslam should be transparent about the money he spends on political matters. There is nothing wrong with paying Ingram — or anyone else, for that matter — for political insight. He just needs to divulge such transactions to the citizens of Tennessee so they know who is speaking into the governor’s ear.

Ramsey on Haslam’s Non-Disclosure of Income

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey says he is not going to criticize Gov. Bill Haslam for refusing disclose any information about personal income, though Ramsey had contrasted himself with Haslam on the matter when the two were competing for the 2010 gubernatorial nomination.
Haslam provided summaries of his income from sources other than the family-owned Pilot Corp. during the campaign while Ramsey and other candidates provided reporters with copies of their federal income tax returns. This month, the governor said he will henceforth provide no information whatsoever on the amount of his income, though complying with state law requiring that he list sources of income.
(Previous post HERE)
Ramsey was not available for comment on Haslam’s new stance for an earlier story (Simply forgot to return the call, he said). But was available this week and said that the amount of income Haslam earns really has no bearing on his performance as governor.
“I just don’t see any correlation there,” he said. “Whether he earns $10,000 or $100,000 or $1 million is beside the point.”
The lieutenant governor added that disclosing his income tax returns, which happened to include his best years ever for income from his auctioneer business, “was the hardest thing I did running for governor.”
Still, Ramsey said he would provide more recent returns now if requested by reporters

Haslam Goes Mum on All Personal Income (and former critics change their tune)

Gov. Bill Haslam, who drew sharp criticism from his gubernatorial campaign opponents by releasing only limited information on the amount of his personal income, has decided to release no information whatsoever now that he is in office.
Those who criticized him on the campaign trail, however, were either subdued or expressed a change of heart when asked for comment on his more stalwart silence now.
In response to a 2009 request for copies of his federal income tax returns, Haslam responded with a six-year summary showing that he and his wife, Crissy, averaged about $4.75 million in annual income over the period, ending with tax year 2008.
The summary excluded income from Pilot Corp., now Pilot Flying J, with Haslam saying such a disclosure could inappropriately reveal income of family members and potentially impact the business. But the summary did show not only annual non-Pilot income, but also that the Haslams paid an average of just over $622,000 in federal taxes annually, about $100,000 annually in state taxes, and that they gave about $689,000 per year to charity.
In response to a recent request for similar information on his 2009 and 2010 income, the governor replied with a firm no, relayed by Alexia Poe, his communications director.
“We just don’t see the public good in ongoing stories about his income,” Poe said. “The sources of his income are known. He has complied with the law.
“What impact does the amount of his income have on his being governor?” she said.
Haslam declined to be interviewed on the subject, but sent the following comment via email:
“This is a topic that has been well reported and discussed over the past several years. As governor, I’ve done what I said I would do in the campaign. My holdings are in a blind trust — excluding Pilot stock, which everyone knows I own — and all required financial information will continue to be available to the public in annual disclosures.”

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