Saturday, July 22, 2006

Lamont's wealth confirmed in 2005 tax documents

Ken Dixon
The Connecticut Post

MERIDEN — Democratic challenger Ned Lamont allowed reporters to check his 2005 tax returns Friday as his campaign manager said his opponent, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, is playing "gotcha politics" to avoid substantive campaign issues.

Lamont was nowhere to be seen at his campaign headquarters here as about a dozen reporters pored over the hefty returns after news cameras were removed from a meeting room. Tom Swan, the campaign manager who charged that Lieberman was using Lamont's finances to avoid issues like health care, high gas prices and the war in Iraq, also prohibited reporters from leaving with copies of the state and federal tax documents.

The Greenwich millionaire earned a gross income of nearly $4.3 million and claimed an adjusted gross income of about $2.9 million for the year. His net federal taxes were more than $621,000 and his state taxes were more than $209,000.

He claimed $546,000 in salary last year; he aspires to replace Lieberman in the Senate, a post that pays $165,200 annually. The primary is Aug. 8.

Charitable contributions through the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund totaled $213,750, including $10,000 to Yale University, $50,000 to Stanford University's scholarship program, $100,000 to the Brookings Institution think tank and $10,000 to the Greenwich Country Day School.

Amid the many big numbers spread across more than 80 pages of filings, Lamont paid $64,311 in Connecticut use taxes on more than $1 million in purchases of art. Connecticut's per-capita income, the highest in the nation, is $47,819.

"What you're going to find here today is that Ned Lamont has been able to make a good living," Swan said. "As a result of having had that opportunity, he is now willing to commit himself to public service and to put his resources behind that to change the direction of this country."

Swan continued to decline, however, as Lamont has himself, to specify the candidate's total worth, maintaining an estimate of between $90 million and $300 million.

"I think that it's a fairly fluid number," Swan said. "He doesn't know the exact details and I don't know the exact details. You know the big news of this? He's a wealthy guy."

Swan also declined to release the tax documents of the candidate's wife, Ann H. Lamont, because she is in partnerships with others who do not wish to have their incomes revealed.

"Let's get real people, after you look at this; let's start talking about the real issues and the issues people care about, instead of this gotcha politics and calling for the misinformation that is coming out of the other side's campaign," Swan said.

He declined to release tax returns dating before last year because Lamont was not then a candidate for the Senate.

Swan said the personal finances of Lamont are being used by Lieberman to avoid a discussion on the 47 million people throughout the country without health care, for whom the candidate unveiled a universal insurance plan Thursday.

"We are releasing it and getting it over with right now, because there's nothing more after today," Swan said, stressing that he would not let reporters take the documents "because I'm not going to get these up and out on the Internet."

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