By Ken Stone
Two days after Sara Jacobs posted her “plan to make the government more ethical and transparent,” her 53rd Congressional District rival released her own tax returns Thursday.
Georgette Gómez challenged her fellow Democrat to do the same.
In her 2019 taxes, San Diego City Council President Gómez lists her principal business as “public transportation consultant” but occupation as “city councilmember” and reported adjusted gross income of $82,346.
In 2018, when she also listed “social worker” as her occupation, she made just under $82,000.
But in 2017, a year after she first won election to the council in District 9, she reported adjusted gross income of $58,075. Gómez chose “single” as her filing status, listing her fiancee, Raquel Pacheco, as a dependent.
In a news release, Gómez said she released her tax returns after a request from San Diego Taxpayers Advocate calling on all congressional candidates to release their tax returns.
“Georgette Gómez has always been a strong advocate for greater transparency in our government and for elected officials that are accountable to the people they represent, that is why today she decided to release her tax returns,” said the release.
She urged Jacobs, granddaughter of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, and all Congress candidates in San Diego to release their tax returns.
Hours later Thursday, the Jacobs campaign told Times of San Diego: “We’ve always planned to release Sara’s tax returns and will be doing so soon.”
“Voters deserve to know if the people running to represent them have been paying their fair share or if they’re taking advantage of tax loopholes to enrich themselves at the expense of our community,” said Gómez campaign manager Elijah Lefkow. “It’s time for our leaders to demonstrate that they have nothing to hide.”
In 2017 and 2018, Gómez’s CPA — Alan Spiegel of Rancho Bernardo — applied on her behalf for automatic extension on sending the returns to the IRS.
She paid nearly $9,000 in taxes in 2019, $8,716 in 2018 but $12,356 in 2017, her returns indicate.
Her gifts to charity were $3,270 in 2019, $869 in 2019 and $722 in 2017. All three years she declined to mark the box contributing $3 to the Presidential Election Campaign fund.
In her 465-word essay on Medium, Jacobs wrote: “The need to increase transparency, create stricter ethics rules, and reform lobbying and disclosure requirements spans our whole country — from Washington, D.C., to right here in San Diego. That’s why Sara Jacobs is releasing a plan to make our government more ethical and transparent.”
Among other things, she listed “Eliminate Conflicts of Interest,” “Lobbying Reform,” “Congressional Calendar Transparency” and Campaign Finance Reform.” But she didn’t call for federal lawmakers to release their taxes.
In 2018, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Jacobs has a net worth of about $11.3 million, “largely from a trust that includes at least $5 million in holdings at Qualcomm, the wireless technology company founded by her grandfather.”
According to federal election records, Jacobs through June 30 has given her campaign $2.97 million — about 84% of the $3.55 million she’s raised overall. (Unlike other contributions, such candidate donations aren’t subject to limits.)
In 2017, Roll Call posted a database of House and Senate members who’ve released their taxes. Only 57 of the 530 contacted shared their returns. (Reps. Scott Peters, Juan Vargas, Susan Davis and Duncan Hunter didn’t respond to Roll Call.)
In March 2019, the House passed H.R. 1, For the People Act of 2019. The bill would require candidates for president and vice president to submit 10 years of tax returns — but says nothing about congressional tax returns.
However, members of Congress and candidates for federal office (among others) are required by the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to file annual reports disclosing their personal finances.
“These forms record earned and unearned income, assets and related transactions, liabilities, contributions made in lieu of honoraria, gifts received, non-governmental positions held, travel that was paid for or for which the filer was reimbursed, and various agreements into which the filer has entered,” notes opensecrets.org. “Information relating to the spouse and dependent children of the filer is also reported in many cases.”
Updated at 6:57 p.m. Sept. 17, 2020
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