Several newspapers editorials as well as the campaign of Florida Governor Rick Scott are demanding that former Governor Charlie Crist provide copies of his wife's tax returns. Crist has declined. He says his spouse personal finances are no one's business since she is not the candidate.
The demand for disclosure is complicated. Florida's financial disclosure laws do not require candidate spouses to provide information about their personal finances. Good government would seem to suggest the information would be nice to have to provide voters with information about potential conflicts of interest.
Since Scott seems to believe spousal information is vital to Florida interests, he should immediately propose legislation that requires all candidates and public office holders to release 10 years of tax returns of their spouses.
Many Republicans have been demanding to see Rome's returns so this legislation should pass easily in the Republican controlled House and Senate. Perhaps Scott should call a special session to get the legislation passed in July. There is nothing better than summer in Tallahassee.
Republicans care so deeply about this issue that the Florida Republican Party last week hired a plane to fly a banner over the Florida Democratic Party gala asking why Crist is "hiding" his wife's tax returns. The GOP has even created a website CharliesTaxReturns, complete with countdown clock.
So Let's Get To Work in demanding that all spouses of public officials and candidates release their tax returns. The GOP could set the example by immediately releasing those records for all statewide office holders, as well as the Senate President and House Speaker.
Only then will Republicans be able to say this about spousal tax returns - It's Working.
Meanwhile, Republicans should ask their good friends Senator John McCain and former Senator George LeMieux. When McCain considered Crist for his running mate, Crist was required to submit financial information and tax returns for his wife.
LeMieux was an integral part of preparing and submitting that information. He has been more than willing to trash his former friend - you know the guy who named him a U.S. Senator - whenever the GOP has required him to go on the attack. So perhaps he could shed light on Rome's finances.
After all - it would be for the public's right to know.
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Art by Patrick Crowley