McCain's nondisclosure disclosure

It appears John McCain may have used his wife to keep from having to fully reveal his finances.


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Alex Koppelman
April 29, 2008 12:50AM (UTC)

Financial disclosure was, for a time, a fairly significant issue in the presidential race -- Barack Obama's campaign spent weeks hammering Hillary Clinton because of her delay in releasing her family's tax returns. All the major candidates remaining have now released their tax returns, but one, James Ledbetter recently suggested in Slate, may have been less than entirely forthcoming.

John McCain did release his most recent tax return, but it's not John McCain's return that Ledbetter thinks is important for disclosure purposes. Based on Senate financial disclosure reports, Ledbetter says McCain's wife, Cindy, has assets of $40 million, by far the largest proportion of the McCain family's money. But the two did not file jointly, and the senator won't release his wife's return. (Both Clinton and Obama filed jointly with their respective spouses.) So, Ledbetter says, much about McCain's true wealth and how it has been made and saved is still hidden from the public. Ledbetter writes:

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Aside from a Wachovia checking account, in which he keeps between $15,000 and $50,000 (wouldn't some of that money earn more interest in a certificate of deposit?), all of the couple's assets are in Cindy's name. John McCain's tax return is so anemic, so marginal to the couple's actual financial situation, that he doesn't even take a deduction for interest on his home mortgage. Presumably Cindy does, since disclosure forms indicate that she has several mortgages.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections John Mccain, R-ariz. War Room

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