Show Us The Money
NY Times Editorial -- As the presidential campaign narrows and its costs skyrocket, detailed disclosure of financial resources becomes ever more important. Of the leading contenders, so far, only Senator Barack Obama has released his full income-tax returns — a level of disclosure once routine for candidates after the political corruption of Watergate.
The need for greater transparency regarding the income and overall financial dealings of candidates and their spouses was underscored by Mrs. Clinton’s recent decision to make a $5 million loan to her campaign. Such borrowing is a permitted practice under the campaign laws. But the campaign said the money came from her share of the Clintons’ joint resources, and that calls attention to the lack of information about their family finances. As a former president, Bill Clinton has been making millions annually giving speeches and traveling the globe ($7.5 million in 2005, see this CD post). What is publicly known about his business dealings is sketchy, and clearer disclosure of them is required to reassure voters that Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy is unencumbered by hidden entanglements.
The reluctance of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain to reveal more about their finances ill-serves voters and the nominating process of both parties. It also sets a terrible precedent for future campaigns for important posts at the national and state level.