Thursday, December 18, 2003

Davis opens financial records

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ERLANGER - Fourth District congressional candidate Geoff Davis released 10 years of personal and business tax returns Wednesday. He wants the other candidates to do the same.

Davis, a Boone County Republican and self-employed manufacturing consultant, said he released his returns "because the people of the district want a congressman who is going to be open and honest and accountable and really live up to highest standards of moral character."

But Davis also answered questions that have been quietly raised about the source and amount of his income.

Some of his critics have privately suggested that Davis, who has been campaigning since losing the 2002 race to incumbent Democrat Ken Lucas, does little work and has been getting a salary from a group of unidentified wealthy business people who support him.

Davis laughed at that assertion, and his tax returns show a viable business that for the last decade has earned him a mostly six-figure annual income.

The returns show Davis earned nearly $2 million over the past decade. He made a high of $258,029 in 1999 and a low of $97,182 in 1992, the year he started his consulting business.

"This should answer any questions that are out there," said Justin Brassel, Davis' campaign manager. "This is more information than any other candidate that we can remember has released."

Davis also paid almost $90,000 in Kentucky income tax over the 10-year period.

Democrats criticized Davis during the 2002 campaign for incorporating his company in Tennessee. But he said he only did so to ensure that his health plan would cover an employee who lived there. At the time Davis' insurance carrier had moved out of Kentucky because of stringent health insurance reforms the General Assembly passed.

He has since reincorporated in Kentucky, but his returns show he paid no taxes in Tennessee while continuing to pay Kentucky income taxes.

"We incorporated in Tennessee so I could continue to pay 100 percent health benefits for my employees," Davis said.

His accountant, Ken Kinder, and his lawyer, David Wallace, each vouched for the information Davis provided and prepared a summary of the returns. Lucas is not running for re-election next year.

Davis challenged the other two candidates - Republican Kevin Murphy and Democrat Nick Clooney - to make public their personal and any business-related tax returns.

"They need to be as open and accountable as we're being," Davis said.

Neither Clooney, a writer who has hosted TV and radio programs, nor Murphy, a lawyer, could be reached Wednesday.


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