Mass. Senate race heats up over tax returns

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April 24, 2012, 6:10 pm
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(NECN: Eileen Curran) - Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidates are sparring over tax returns.
           
Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren have each agreed to release their returns, but they are going back and forth over when and how much to release in battle for middle class voters.
               
"I grew up in a family hanging by our fingertips to a place in the middle class," said Warren in her latest campaign ad.

But, a lot has changed for Warren since her early days, especially her income. She is a highly-paid Harvard professor, who has made a very comfortable living in the private sector. Now, her opponent, Brown wants to show voters just how comfortable and from where the money came.

“He wasn't doing as well as she was six years ago, so it will demonstrate that she comes from a higher tax bracket,” said political analyst Peter Ubertaccio.
    
On Tuesday, Brown’s campaign announced the Senator would release his tax returns on Friday for the past six years. It is calling on Warren to do the same.
           
In a letter to Warren from Jim Barnett, Brown’s campaign manager, Barnett said: "The tax years you are attempting to conceal contain important and potentially revealing information…"

He specifically pointed to more than $200,000 in income Warren reportedly made for outside legal work assisting "Travelers Insurance in a case against victims of asbestos poisoning."

Warren’s campaign has agreed to release her returns, but, on Wednesday, not Friday, and only for the past four years, not six. The campaign said these returns represent her entire time in public service.

“It can be damaging,” said Ubertaccio, who is the director of the Martin’s Institute at Stonehill College. 

He said it’s a battle over who most relates to the middle class, a crucial block of voters in the state.

“Both campaigns are trying to establish a narrative,” he said.  “Part of Brown's narrative is he is one of us, just a working class person, just like the rest of us.  Brown's going to use this issue of tax returns to try and suggest she (Warren) is not all she appears to be."

In a statement, Warren’s spokesperson, Alethea Harney, said, of Brown’s decision to release the returns on Friday afternoon, that it was “a typical Washington game of releasing bad news when there is traditionally little news coverage."

There's no word yet from the Brown campaign as to whether it will move up its release date to Wednesday.

Tags: Jim Barnett, Scott Brown, tax returns, Elizabeth Warren, Stonehill College, Eileen Curran, massachusetts senate, peter ubertaccio, tax bracket, MA Senate race 2012, director of the martin institute, headlines042512
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