Outrage over tax returns a replay of past campaigns
2004: John Kerry vs. President George W. Bush
Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry released 20 years of tax returns, including his 2003 returns - the year prior to the presidential election. However, like McCain, Kerry refused to release his wife's tax returns. Teresa Heinz Kerry, whose net worth was estimated at more $500 million at the time, is the widow of John Heinz, the heir to the ketchup fortune. She relented, just like Cindy McCain, and released a short summary of her 2003 taxes, which showed an income of just over $5 million mostly from tax-exempt bonds.
2000: George W. Bush vs. Al Gore
When he entered the 2000 presidential race, George W. Bush had already released his tax returns dating back to 1991. His openness was due, in part, to the fact the tax debate had heated up when he was facing incumbent Gov. Ann Richards for the governorship in 1994. After winning the statehouse, he released his returns going forward, and during his presidency as well.
As vice president, Al Gore released his taxes during the years he served. He caught heat for one year when he contributed only $353 of his $198,000 income to charity.
1996: Bob Dole vs. President Bill Clinton
The real debate over tax returns during the 1996 campaign was during the Republican primary, where Bob Dole released 30 years of tax returns in an attempt to pressure one of his challengers, multimillionaire Steve Forbes, to release his returns. Forbes, who was estimated to be worth $440 million refused to release his taxes.
1992: President George H.W. Bush vs. Ross Perot vs. Bill Clinton
While running for president, then-candidate Bill Clinton released his tax returns for 1990 and 1991, and the years between 1980 and 1990 had previously been released. But controversy erupted when Mr. Clinton refused to release tax returns prior to 1980.
In an interview with the Washington Post during the 1992 campaign, Hillary Clinton said, "We just feel we have gone the extra mile. Talk about accountability. We feel we have been more accountable than most people who have been in this position, and we feel very comfortable about it."
After relentless pressure from the press, the couple, in 1994, released their taxes from 1977, 1978 and 1979. David Kendall, the Clintons' personal attorney, said, "In a spirit of full cooperation and openness, the Clintons have now made public their tax returns for the past 16 years, since Mr. Clinton's first year in public office."
The tax returns answered few questions about Whitewater, an Arkansas land-development investment the Clintons invested in, which erupted into a scandal during Clinton's first term. The Clintons were alleged to have obtained illegal tax deductions for the deal. Before the Whitewater investigation was complete, Mr. Clinton had to pay more than $5,000 in back taxes for problems with some of his tax filings in the 1980s.
Their returns also showed that Mrs. Clinton got involved in cattle commodities trading where she made $100,000 and was suspected to have received preferable treatment and prices.
As for Mr. Bush, his tax returns were released each year he was in office.
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