That is the question most folks in Tennessee are asking these days as Bob won't release his full tax returns and he won't agree to debate Congressman Ford. Cleary, he is afraid of something, but what?
Judging by his actions, there is something in his tax returns that he doesn't want Tennesseeans to know as he has went to extensive links to try to keep that information secret:
- Corker wanted to keep lawsuit proceedings secret. Corker has asked a judge to seal all filings in a lawsuit alleging that Corker trampled on environmental protections to sell land to Wal-Mart while mayor of Chattanooga. The judge ruled against sealing all documents. The Chattanooga Times Free Press declares that the public needs to know “how and why” the shady deal went down, and a Chattanoogan columnist says “The public needs to be suspicious.” [AP, 8/22/06; Chattanooga Times Free Press, 8/26/06; The Chattanoogan, 8/27/06]
- Now Corker wants to hide his tax records from the public. Corker’s campaign will release only a one-page summary of his tax records between 1976 and 2005 and copies of his 1040 forms from the past four years—refusing to release the accompanying schedules that detail investment and business gain. Corker’s campaign says that that details may be “subject to misinterpretation.” The public interest group Common Cause counters that “the more disclosure that the public can have of where the interests and incomes of public servants and candidates are, the better.” [AP, 8/27/06]
However, Congressman Ford has nothing to hide:
- Representative Harold Ford Jr. has released his full tax records. Representative Harold Ford Jr. believes that “when you run for public office, you have an obligation to fully disclose and be as transparent as possible about your personal finances.” Ford has provided full copies of his federal tax returns from the last four years, including all relevant schedules. [AP, 8/27/06]
Bob remains the only U.S. Senate candidate in the entire country not to release his full tax returns for voters to look at. That should tell you something.
On the debate front, we don't know for sure why Bob won't debate Congressman Ford, but the Congressman had some ideas why last week:
- You have never cut a tax, and only raised them multiple times as mayor?
- You refused repeated pleas from the Chattanooga police for additional 911 operators, leading to 31,000 unanswered emergency calls for help?
- You enriched yourself as mayor, making 50 percent more in your time in office than you had in the previous 24 years combined?
- You raised your pay as mayor three times, while freezing the pay of your police and firefighters?
- You are worth a quarter-billion dollars, yet you continue to take a city pension?
- You made $4.7 million on a shady land deal that would have been impossible if anyone else had been mayor--but you?
- You hired illegal workers on one of your construction projects and tried to cover it up?
- You aired false and misleading advertisements during your self-financed primary campaign, leading editorial writers and independent watchdog groups to criticize you for misleading voters?
- You served as Governor Sundquist's finance commissioner, and poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the broken TennCare system, while you raised premiums on recipients?
- You have favored a stay-the-course approach in Iraq, while our generals and more and more of your own party have joined the American people in realizing such an approach is not working?
Whatever the reason, once again Bob makes history, as he is the only candidate in the nation not to agree to appear on NBC's Meet the Press Senate Debate Series this fall. Congressman Ford proposed a series of seven debates on the day of the primary (August 3rd). Now, nearly a month later, Bob is yet to even agree to one debate. I guess it takes real practice to try to defend a record like his.
Tennesseans want to know about the candidates running for the U.S. Senate. They want to know if they have had any illegal finacial dealings in the past. They want to know their record and where they stand on the issues. And in my opinion, they deserve to know. However, Bob Corker disagrees.
Don't be fooled this fall. It is time we had a U.S. Senator who is open and honest with the people of Tennessee. Not another Bill Frist clone.