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McSally releases tax returns ahead of Senate debate

October 7, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2020, file photo, Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., speaks at a rally for President Donald Trump in Phoenix. McSally and Democratic challenger Mark Kelly meet Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in what’s likely to be the only debate of the campaign. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2020, file photo, Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., speaks at a rally for President Donald Trump in Phoenix. McSally and Democratic challenger Mark Kelly meet Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in what’s likely to be the only debate of the campaign. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — U.S. Sen. Martha McSally made just under $288,000 last year and paid an effective tax rate of 22%, according to tax returns she provided Tuesday to The Associated Press ahead of her only debate against retired astronaut Mark Kelly.

McSally, an Arizona Republican, released five years of tax returns and called on Kelly to do the same. She and her GOP allies have relentlessly criticized Kelly’s income sources since he retired from NASA in 2011, including paid speeches and a high-altitude balloon business he co-founded that a Chinese company invested in. A barrage of television ads accuses Kelly of being willing to “do anything for a buck.”

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“He’s not being forthright with voters, who deserve to know what is in his tax returns,” said Caroline Anderegg, a spokeswoman for McSally. “If he has nothing to hide, this shouldn’t be a problem.”

In an interview that aired on Sunday, Kelly told AZfamily, a group of Phoenix television stations, that he has no plans to release his tax returns.

Kelly’s spokesman, Jacob Peters, said Kelly has released all required financial disclosures and called McSally’s disclosure “a desperate last-minute political stunt from a losing candidate.”

“Ethics in government is very important to Mark, which is why, unlike Sen. McSally, he does not accept corporate PAC money and has committed to releasing his official schedule as a Senator,” Peters said.

Personal financial disclosures required of candidates for office and sitting lawmakers reveal their income sources and — within broad ranges — the value of their assets. Tax returns can show additional information, such as how much was paid in taxes and what deductions were claimed. For candidates who own businesses, tax returns can provide a window into the firm’s profit or loss.

Kelly’s most recent financial disclosure, filed in August, shows he’s made $1.8 million from paid speeches in 2018 and 2019. He also reported income from consulting and his role on the board of a private equity firm.

McSally’s taxes show she made $59,000 in 2019 from royalties for her memoir, “Dare to Fly.” Otherwise, essentially all of her income from 2015 through 2019 was from her congressional salary — $162,455 last year — and her military pension, which was $65,198 last year. McSally retired in 2010 from the Air Force as a colonel. She has reported essentially no investment income since 2015, when she reported $1,282 in ordinary dividends.

Over the five-year period, she reported giving an average of 7.4 percent of her adjusted gross income to charity. Her effective tax rate ranged from 18.8% in 2018 to 22% in 2019.

McSally itemized her tax deductions each year, claiming deductions for mortgage interest, charitable giving, and state and local taxes. On her Arizona tax returns, she also claimed tax credits for medical expenses and for donations to schools and school tuition organizations, which offset her state tax bill by providing scholarships for private school tuition.