"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Monday, May 16, 2005

Corzine’s Meaningless Financial Disclosure

Federal lawmakers are required by law to submit annual financial disclosure statements. Here’s a peek at Jon Corzine’s for 2004:

U.S. Sen. Jon S. Corzine, a former Wall Street executive and the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, on Monday released a Senate filing showing that his total assets in 2004 were in the range of $85.5 million to $261.5 million.

The financial disclosure report also said his 2004 income was in the range from $2.9 million to $17.7 million.
Don’t you wish the government would allow you to report your income and asserts in such broad terms for income and estate tax purposes?

No way do I owe more income tax. Like I told you Mr. Auditor, I earned between $75,000 and $447,500 and paid my income taxes on the $75K. (The spread between Corzine’s’ reported income and our example 610%)

Yes sir, that business Pop left me is worth between $500,000 and $1,550,000, so I’ll go ahead and claim the $500,000 to avoid paying taxes. (The spread between the assets Corzine reported and our little example is 310%)

What meaningless information. Assets such as homes and stock portfolios can certainly fluctuate in value and reporting a range makes sense, but this broad? And there is no excuse for lawmakers not reporting their income to the dollar.

The annual financial reports, required under a 1978 ethics-in-government statute, are so broad and vague, it’s impossible to determine a member's actual income or financial worth. So what’s the point? The disclosure reports are just ethical cover and a pretense at openness. Just what you’d expect from politicians - window dressing.


At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Interesting article....

At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagreed with one premise of the article (that poor Republicans would not benefit from smaller estate tranfers) but I guess I was interested in the article because of my own personal experience. I had an aunt that lived with my mother all of her life. My mother did not have much of anything during her life because of the early death of my father and raising two boys. My aunt's will left her estate to my mother. Both lived frugally but because of the current tax structure both state and federal when my aunt died her estate got the hell taxed out of it because they were not "husband and wife." I don't know who out there buys the bullshit that estate taxes only hurt the rich but I can state from personal experience how the tax structure in this country impovershes the middle and lower middle classes (and we were the latter). The Democrats like to blow smoke up your ass that to repeal the estate tax is Republican pandering to the rich but all I know is the Democrats seem to have some sort of amnesia that this money had already been taxed as income while my aunt was alive and my mother could have lived a better life without this sort of double dipping. So this one I'm taking very personal.

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and Corzine, if you haven't already gotten the message...you can go screw yourself...the money that you used to pander to all the political bosses could have helped how many abused women, how many children, abused or orphaned, how many local agencies giving food to the poor...how many outreach programs in general...you and your hypocritical use of taxpayer money...what I do see is that you do have your own "universal" program of donating monies to politically corrupt bosses to advance your own ego and to use New Jersey as a steppingstone to the Whitehouse. Don't you think New Jersey taxpayers have had enough being stepped on? But no, not you, you asshole. And you can take that to the bank.

At 11:47 AM, Blogger DBK said...

Dear Anonymous,

I'd really like to hear the details on that estate tax problem you had. Since you post anonymously, maybe you could, in the interest of full disclosure and, maybe, a little integrity, tell us the gross worth of the estate that you say was so damaged as well as the total that was paid from it in taxes and maybe some idea of what the assets were held in. The facts seem to contradict your statement, which I kind of don't believe, but I respectfully request that you correct me.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger DBK said...

Not to be insulting, Anonymous, but what you say doesn't jibe with everything I ever heard about the estate tax. In addition, it reads like a pointless exercise in insulting Senator Corzine for partisan reasons. Since the estate tax was repealed, your remarks actually make no sense at all. Since the tax structure means that Senator Corzine, if his vote had succeeded in preventing repeal of the estate tax, would have had his estate taxed at a much larger rate, your remarks are completely illogical.

Could you, since you are anonymous after all, please post some of the details of this estate that was so severely taxed so that those of us with access to a tax attorney (I work with one) can check you on it? You don't need to go into great detail. Just the value of the estate, some idea of how much was in stocks and bonds and so on, and what you say the federal and state tax rates were. You don't have to get into great detail, as I said, just a rough idea. The article you cited completely contradicts your claims, you know.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger DBK said...

Sorry for posting twice. The first time I got a message saying it didn't work.

At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as the article goes, I just found it as an issue I was personally interested in. Quite honestly, and not to be insulting, I don't care much if anyone in this state thinks I do or do not have integrity. What you "have heard" and what I went through are obviously two different things as I saw what was taken from the estate. My mother had a very good accountant while I am a law librarian. Just to raise a point I am neither Republican nor Democrat and with all due respect I don't believe I have an agenda like you do judging from your site. My position is just to be a smart-ass in what is obviously a target rich environment in New Jersey. It's easy to bust on Corzine as the Republicans are insignificant. As far as I'm concerned neither party gives me any decent choice.

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Enlighten said...

The estate tax has not been repealed. The maximum amount exempt from tax that can be transferred upon death to certain relatives, has been increased, but is scheduled to revert back to pre Bush levels in 2009. People still pay huge estate taxes even under the current estate tax system.

The estate tax is unfair and hurts, among others, one of the Democrats most loyal groups of supporters, gay folks. When a gay partner dies, the surviving partner is stuck with huge estate taxes. So don’t tell these people the estate tax has been repealed.

The law doesn’t allow for the myriad of living and financial support arrangements of the American people. It's not just gay people hurt as noted in the comment above.

As usual there are favored groups entitled to special treatment. Get rid of the estate tax and everyone would be on equal footing and no one would be financially ruined by estate taxes.

At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Rudolph said...

There's no doubt, the dude is absolutely right.
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