Wealthy Democratic Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado did not pay income taxes for a number of years, despite the fact that he was once adamant that former President Donald Trump needed to release his tax returns, according to a report.
The outlet ProPublica released a report on Thursday that highlighted the apparent hypocrisy when poring over financial documents it obtained from wealthy lawmakers and public officials.
Among those who used loopholes to avoid paying taxes was Polis, who while in Congress in 2017 was vocal in claiming that Trump’s decision to keep his tax documents private was a violation of transparency.
The report noted that as a member of the House of Representatives, Polis accused Trump of having “something to hide,” and he even attempted to pass a resolution to force Trump to disclose his financials.
But things changed for Polis the next year when he launched his gubernatorial campaign in the Centennial State. Polis, who is worth a reported nine figures, decided against releasing his own tax returns when facing off against Republican Walker Stapleton, the then-state Treasurer.
That might be because Polis avoided paying federal income taxes for a number of years prior, and when he did pay, he paid a lower rate than a middle-class worker would have, according to the report.
“Despite a net worth estimated to be in the hundreds of millions, Polis paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2013, 2014 and 2015. From 2010 to 2018, his overall rate was just 8.2% — less than half of the 19% paid by a worker making $45,000 in 2018,” ProPublica reported after having obtained the tax forms of some of the country’s wealthiest public servants.
Polis has not yet commented on the report.
The report on Polis’ tax documents could be an important issue to Colorado’s voters when the governor is up for re-election next year. Polis has fervently opposed public officials withholding information regarding their tax status.
″[T]he American people have the right to know whether or not their president is operating under conflicts of interest related to international affairs, tax reform, government contracts or otherwise,” Polis said of Trump as he sought to have the former president’s financial forms looked at by the House Ways and Means Committee in 2017, the AP reported.
Polis also made an issue out of Trump’s tax status while at a rally in Denver in 2017 which was specifically organized to oppose Trump’s decision to keep his tax documents private.
“The people deserve to know if he’s beholden to Russian financial oligarchs,” Polis said, The Rocky Mountain Collegian reported. “We deserve that level of transparency from all our presidential candidates, Democratic and Republican, in the future.”
“With public pressure, like these marches, like letters and calls to your elected officials, hopefully we’ll build the movement to demand transparency,” Polis told demonstrators.
The AP reported that while in Congress, Polis was the wealthiest Democrat in the House, worth an estimated $313 million in 2018.
Polis was not the only wealthy public official reported by ProPublica to have paid little to nothing in federal income taxes. Others listed by the outlet include Republican Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia, Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida and former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
The outlet did not accuse the officials of doing anything illegal, as all were have reported to have used existing tax laws and loopholes to keep more of their money.
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