Biss calls on opponents to release full tax returns, questions their financial interests


Daily file photo by Kristina Karisch

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) speaks at a panel. Biss called on his fellow gubernatorial candidates to release their full tax returns.

Kristina Karisch, Web Editor

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) questioned the financial interests of businessmen J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy — two of his competitors in the Illinois gubernatorial race — in a video his campaign released Wednesday.

The campaign advertisement — titled “What are They Hiding?” — lists Pritzker and Kennedy’s ties to companies like Halliburton, Exxon Mobil, defense contractor Lockheed Martin and Energy Transfer Partners, which constructed and is a part-owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy’s financial disclosures perfectly encapsulate why we should be skeptical of billionaire businessmen who say they’ll fight for us — and why we need to see full tax returns to better understand their financial interests,” said Biss’ campaign manager, Abby Witt, in a Wednesday statement.

Since Pritzker and Kennedy released their financial ties — a necessary part of the paperwork required to run for governor, according to the Chicago Sun-Times — Biss has criticized his opponents for only releasing the bare minimum of financial disclosures.

The Sun-Times detailed Kennedy and Pritzker’s business ties, reporting that the disclosure form released by the two candidates “gives information about entities and investments … (but) doesn’t provide full financial disclosure, including how much money is involved or other details.”

Galia Slayen, a spokeswoman for the Pritzker campaign, told the Sun-Times that her candidate is “committed to putting in place best practices to ensure that no conflicts ever exist.” Kennedy’s spokesperson, Rebecca Evans, told the Sun-Times he is “proud of his record of leading companies that have created jobs for thousands of Illinois residents.”

Biss released five years of his own tax returns in April, and is calling for his opponents to do the same. He criticized their disclosures in a series of tweets Monday, alleging that the documents amount to little more than “cover sheets with basically no information.”

“Release your full returns,” Biss tweeted. “For five years. Complete with all trust fund disclosures. And for the love of everything holy, do it now.”

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