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Two former governors call on Knute Buehler to release his tax returns, increase transparency in the Governor’s race

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 22:40

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Today two of Oregon’s former Governors -- Governor Barbara Roberts and Governor Ted Kulongoski -- called on Republican gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler to release his full tax returns in order to increase transparency in the Governor’s race.

On May 3, 2018, Governor Brown publicly released the last three years of her full tax returns. For more than 5 months now, Knute Buehler has refused multiple requests from the press -- and demands from Democrats -- to follow suit, and has instead kept key portions of his tax returns secret.

“Oregon voters deserve to know that their governor is playing by the rules and paying their fair share of our citizen responsibility. Public and private ethics matter.  Conflicts of interest should be openly announced,” said Governor Roberts, who was elected as Oregon’s Governor in 1990. 

In September, the Oregonian asked whether Buehler uses a controversial state tax break. Even after voting against a bill that would’ve ended that tax break for doctors like him, Buehler refused to answer. According to the Oregonian, Buehler said, “I have 15 different corporations so to tell you which one is taking advantage of a specific tax bill” would be difficult.

Then, in a report last week,the East Oregonian revealed that Buehler and his wife bought $100,000 worth of tax credits through the now scandal-plagued Business Energy Tax Credit -- a fact he conveniently left out when he turned around and harshly criticized the program on multiple occasions, including in last week’s final gubernatorial debate.

“With everything going on nationally, I have realized that if you sit back when you see wrong and you do not do something, you're contributing to the chaos of our governing process,” said Governor Kulongoski, who was inaugurated as Oregon’s Governor in 2003. “Voters of this state deserve to know who Knute Buehler is, and you will find a great deal of that information in his tax returns, if he would release them. He has 15 different corporations, and citizens of Oregon are entitled to know what conflicts of interest he has, and if he's paying his fair share."

Both Governors argued that all candidates for public office in Oregon -- including Knute Buehler -- should be open and transparent about who is funding their campaign, who is paying for their lifestyle, and whether they’re paying their fair share.

“Knute Buehler wants to run our state, but he doesn’t want voters to know how he and his 15 corporations will be impacted by state policy. Today we heard two former governors make a clear case about why Buehler’s lack of transparency is simply unacceptable,” said Christian Gaston, the Brown campaign’s communications director. “Voters deserve to know what other special tax breaks Knute Buehler has taken, and what else he's hiding.”