Democrats continue to beat the drum today for GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino to release several years of state and federal tax returns. Astorino, Westchester County executive, released his 2013 returns yesterday, as well as five years of county financial disclosure forms, which provide limited financial information. Campaign officials released details of $101,800 in outside income Astorino received during his first term as county executive.
Former Gov. George Pataki, a Putnam County Republican, set the standard for disclosure of tax returns when he released five years in 1994, said Peter Kauffmann, a spokesman for the state Democratic Committee. Democrats launched a petition drive on change.org, which has garnered 6,281 supporters so far.
“We’re asking for simply five years, but instead of coming clean Rob Astorino continues to play games,” Kauffmann said in a conference call with reporters this afternoon.
Astorino is challenging Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is running for a second term. Cuomo has released his tax returns every year since taking office.
The details of Astorino’s outside income prompt many questions, such as whether the county executive worked out of a home office and whether he used taxpayer-funded security detail or a county car to perform the work, Kauffmann said. He earned $30,000 in consulting fees from Townsquare Media of Greenwich, Connecticut in 2013 and $1,800 o fill in on WOR radio in Manhattan. Townsquare paid Astorino $10,000 in 2010, $30,000 in 2011 and $30,000 in 2012.
“Frankly, if he’s not hiding anything, he should just release his returns,” Kauffmann said.
County legislator Peter Harckham, D-North Salem, said on the call that the county executive position is a full-time job and taxpayers have a right to know how much time Astorino is working in his outside jobs.
“That’s what I’m hearing from my constituents. We have great challenges in Westchester. We need a full-time county executive,” Harckham said.
Earlier today, Astorino called Cuomo the worst “corporate cronyist” in state history. He claimed Cuomo has accepted $2.7 million in campaign donations from corporations that received a total of $7.2 billion in state contracts.
(Journal News file photo.)