Tax returns offer snapshot of Senate candidates
In just over two weeks, voters will decide among crowded fields of Republicans and Democrats vying for Georgia's open U.S. Senate seat. To gain insights into the candidates' personal finances, The Associated Press requested access to the last 10 years of tax returns of each of the top candidates who are leading in fundraising and polls ahead of the May 20 primary.
Republicans Karen Handel, Phil Gingrey and David Perdue each provided access to at least a portion of their tax returns. Republican Jack Kingston plans to release his but has yet to do so. A spokesman for Democrat Michelle Nunn says she plans to release information beyond her candidate's financial disclosure.
The following is a summary of each candidate's finances based on those disclosures and tax returns where available:
Paul Broun (Rep.)
Broun's campaign spokeswoman said the congressman from Athens had filed detail annual financial disclosures since being elected. His last five, from calendar years 2008 through 2012, are available online. Broun and his wife listed assets in 2012 valued at between about $127,000 and $480,000. That included two condos in Naples, Florida, that Broun inherited that year. The two rental properties generated between $7,502 and $20,000 in income that year.
Their sole liability was a home mortgage between $250,001 and $500,000. Also included in Broun's filings is an April 2013 report that shows he purchased shares worth between $15,001 and $50,000 each of CSX Corp., Berkshire Hathaway and Norfolk Southern. Broun amended his 2008-2011 reports to list a personal, interest-bearing loan he made to his congressional campaign account between $100,001 and $250,000.
Karen Handel (Rep.)
Handel, a former Georgia Secretary of State, released five years of her and her husband's complete federal tax returns. In 2013, Handel and her husband reported $305,600 in total income, claiming nearly $34,000 in itemized deductions. The income came from a variety of sources, including various companies owned by the couple and $107,000 in IRA distributions. The couple paid about $80,000 in federal taxes, or about 26 percent of their total income. The previous year, Handel and her husband paid $16,000 in taxes, or about 12 percent of their total income of $133,500. They claimed about $26,000 in itemized deductions that year.
Handel also filed a personal financial disclosure as a Senate candidate, which covers 2012. Handel reported assets valued at between $518,000 and $1.36 million, largely concentrated in several investment accounts. Handel and her husband also listed credit card debt between $15,000 and $50,000 with no mortgage.
Phil Gringrey (Rep.)
Gingrey, a congressman from Marietta, released the coversheets of five years of federal tax returns filed by him and his wife. The most recent, or 2012, show Gingrey and his wife reported $400,000 in total income, claiming about $47,000 in itemized deductions. The couple received $154,000 in wages and paid nearly $94,000 taxes, or 23 percent of their total income. Over the five years, Gingrey and his wife paid taxes representing between 20.4 percent and 23.5 percent of their total annual income. The couple also paid a tax penalty each year for underpayment of estimated taxes.
Gingrey's last five financial disclosures with the House are available online. In 2012, Gingrey and his wife reported between $3.6 million and $8.2 million in assets, with liabilities between $930,000 and $1.9 million. Their assets include a mix of rental properties, investment funds and individual stock in companies including Coca-Cola and Home Depot. Gingrey also reported $90,000 in income in 2012 from an IRA distribution and between $227,000 and $1.38 million in investment income from dividends and rent.
Jack Kingston (Rep.)
Kingston's campaign spokesman said the Savannah congressman and his wife plan to release their tax returns. Kingston's last five personal financial disclosures filed with the House, from 2008 through 2012, are available online. Those disclosures reveal that Kingston and his wife have ownership interest in a handful of rental properties in the Savannah area as well as numerous investment and retirement accounts.
In 2012, their listed assets were valued at between $1.8 million and $4 million. Their only liability was a mortgage on a second home in Alexandria, Virginia, between $250,000 and $500,000. In addition, Kingston and his wife reported receiving between $130,000 and $288,000 in investment income.
Michelle Nunn (Dem.)
Nunn's campaign spokesman said Nunn has filed a detailed personal financial disclosure and has plans to make additional financial information available soon. Her financial disclosure with the Senate covers 2012-2013 and shows Nunn received a salary of about $270,000 in 2012 and $214,000 in 2013 as CEO of Points of Light Foundation. Nunn has since taken a leave of absence to focus on her campaign.
Nunn and her husband listed assets over that time period as valued between $1.2 million and $3 million, concentrated largely in investment funds and individual stock in companies including Bank of America, Cisco Systems and Coca-Cola. Nunn's husband, Ron Martin, works in real estate, and the couple listed several parcels of land in Glynn County among their assets. Their home mortgage was estimated at between $250,000 and $500,000, with an additional home equity line of credit ranging between $100,000 and $250,000. They also reported receiving between $5,000 and $26,600 in investment income over that period.
David Purdue (Rep.)
Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok, released 10 years of his and his wife's complete federal tax returns. The couple's total income ranged from $24.8 million in 2007, when he left Dollar General, to about $229,700 in 2010. In 2012, the most recent one available, the couple reported total income of about $693,500 from a combination of board compensation, dividends and capital gains. They claimed about $306,885 in itemized deductions and paid nearly $119,000 in taxes, or about 17 percent of their total income.
In 2008, Perdue and his wife paid $9.1 million in taxes, or nearly 49 percent of their total income, which was $18.6 million. That year Perdue had received the final payouts from Dollar General. The couple has also made annual charitable contributions, ranging from $40,000 in 2003 to just over $289,000 in 2011. A large portion of their recent giving has been to his alma mater, Georgia Tech. A spokesman said the couple has pledged $1 million to the university.
Perdue also filed a 2012 disclosure as a Senate candidate, in which he reported about $887,000 in income from sitting on the boards of four companies: Marietta-based Graphic Packaging; Easton-Bell Sports of Van Nuys, California; Washington, D.C.-based Liquidity Services Inc.; and Alliant Energy Corporation of Madison, Wisconsin. In 2012, the couple's listed assets were valued at between $11.9 million and $48 million, based largely on their extensive investments. Their only liability was a margin loan between $250,000 and $500,000. They also reported receiving between $1.27 million and $7.26 million in investment income from dividends, interest and capital gains.
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