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Integrity and Taxes


We were disappointed to read Brook’s Firestone’s attempt to confuse voters about our TV ad, and now we must set the record straight.

The facts about Abel Maldonado’s long history of neglecting his taxes are crystal clear. Since 1995, federal, state and local tax collectors have resorted to imposing nine (9) separate liens against Mr. Maldonado for failing to pay $250,840.42 in taxes.

Then in 2009, Mr. Maldonado made a deal with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: in exchange for his deciding vote for the largest tax increase in California history, he would receive a ballot measure for an open primary. Shortly thereafter, Schwarzenegger appointed him as Lieutenant Governor. If Mr. Firestone has any questions about this exchange, he should check with Republican anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, who gave Mr. Maldonado the first “Richard Rich Back-Stabber Award.”

While he was raising taxes on Californians, Mr. Maldonado was caught in an IRS audit owing $4.2 million in back taxes. In his 2006-08 tax returns, Mr. Maldonado asked taxpayers to subsidize, through improper deductions, his golf clubs and country club membership, private plane, bathroom tile installation, closet remodeling, new outdoor patio and luxury vacation villas in Palm Springs and Shell Beach, among other dubious write-offs. We encourage Mr. Firestone to read the federal tax court documents for himself at http://www.cappsforcongress.com/maldonadotaxdispute

Despite these records, Mr. Maldonado still won’t tell the truth about his taxes. First, he doesn’t mention that he got caught in an IRS audit. Second, he claims he cannot pay his taxes because he has never received a bill, which isn’t true, because the IRS has detailed every improper deduction and has found he owes over $4.2 million in back taxes. He hasn’t paid the bill and that’s why he’s in federal tax court in San Francisco. Third, Mr. Maldonado once promised to post his tax returns on his website as Congresswoman Capps has done, but now he refuses to do so. We wonder why?

The bottom line is Mr. Maldonado embraces a selfish double standard: tax increases for everyone else, and tax avoidance for himself. If Central Coast voters cannot trust Mr. Maldonado to pay his taxes, how can they trust him in Congress? And now he’s asking to be elected to an office where he can have oversight over the IRS, a clear conflict of interest given his ongoing federal tax court case.

In contrast, Lois Capps’ integrity is beyond reproach. When she discovered, on her own, her accountant made an error in her own taxes, she cleared it up right away. Those amended tax returns are posted on her website for everybody to see. While Maldonado breaks his promise to disclose his tax returns, it’s only because Congresswoman Capps’ amended returns are posted on her website that Mr. Firestone can criticize her accountant’s error.

We should also remind Mr. Firestone that Congresswoman Capps has now been targeted by nine (9) misleading attack ads and web videos from Mr. Maldonado and his allies, including Karl Rove’s Super PAC. Where was Mr. Firestone when Mr. Maldonado and Mr. Rove attacked Congresswoman Capps with the same canard about Medicare that Romney / Ryan use against President Obama? The Republican ad currently running against Congresswoman Capps has been repeatedly debunked by independent fact check organizations.

Finally, Mr. Maldonado hasn’t had a press conference in over 5 months and has cancelled 10 appearances with community groups. He seems content to hide behind false Super PAC ads and avoid questions from reporters and voters.

We’re not going to take this anymore – we must respond with the truth and challenge Mr. Maldonado’s credibility.

And Mr. Firestone, if you can find him, please ask Mr. Maldonado if he realizes that his unpaid $4.2 million in back taxes could fund over 760 Pell Grants to help Central Coast students afford college.

Mollie Culver is the Capps for Congress campaign manager

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