Garagiola releases tax returns, challenges others to follow

State Sen. Rob Garagiola
(The Sun)

Updated with reaction from Delaney campaign. 

State Sen. Rob Garagiola, a Democrat running for Congress in Maryland's 6th District, released a decade's worth of federal income tax returns Thursday and challenged other candidates in the race to do the same.


The records show that Garagiola and his wife reported earning $203,674 in total income in 2010, claimed $18,250 in exemptions and paid $29,166 in federal income tax. The bulk of the family's gross income, $114,642, came from Garagiola's work as an attorney for the Rockville-based firm Stein Sperling.

Garagiola  also earned $41,790 for his work in the legislature and his wife Cynthia earned $44,862 as a public school teacher.


"The No. 1 mission of the next Congress needs to be standing up for the forgotten middle class," Garagiola said in a statement. "Marylanders deserve to know that their member of Congress is working for them, not voting in their own self interest."

Though he did not mention any candidate by name, the release of the tax returns is a clear challenge to Democrat John Delaney, a financier who is also seeking the nomination. Delaney has said he is willing to pump his own money into the race to augment his fundraising.

The Republican incumbent, Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, is also among the most wealthy members of Maryland's delegation, according to annual financial disclosure statements filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

On Friday, Delaney campaign manager Max Cummings released a statement in which he argued that Garagiola's campaign has "tried to distract us quite a bit this week," though he did not address whether the campaign would release the tax documents.

"John believes that there should be transparency in public service, and he plans to publicize all relevant personal information that will help voters learn more about why he is the best voice for the 6th District in Washington,"  the statement read.

Spokespeople for Bartlett did not respond to requests for comment or their candidates' own returns.

Garagiola also released his financial disclosure statement Thursday. Congressional candidates are required to file the document, but the deadline for filing depends on when the candidate enters the race. The document, which includes more recent salary information, shows that Garagiola earned less from the law firm in 2011 but that his wife received a bump in pay.

That disclosure shows the family holds between $289,009 and $795,000 in assets, not including the family's life insurance policies.

The tax records speak to a broader narrative of the race, in which Garagiola's campaign has tried to cast Delaney as a candidate who is trying to buy the seat and Delaney's campaign and Bartlett supporters have tried to label Garagiola as an insider who was handpicked by Democrats in Annapolis to run for the seat.

The general election race is expected to be one of the most competitive in the nation. Both parties will hold primaries in April.

Separately, in an unusual exchange written to members of the General Assembly  and several reporters Thursday, an anonymous e-mail noted Garagiola's time as a federal lobbyist in Washington, D.C., pointing out that he had worked for the same firm as disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Garagiola's campaign manager, Sean Rankin, replied to the e-mail, noting that thousands of attorneys in Washington worked at the same firm as Abramoff, Greenberg Traurig. "Abramoff was a Republican, Rob is a Democrat, and they neither worked together nor shared clients," Rankin wrote. "Abramoff is a criminal and rightly was convicted for what he did."


Democratic Del. Jolene Ivey, the wife of former Prince George's County prosecutor Glenn Ivey, responded separately to the e-mail exchange, writing "They sent the same____ out about Glenn. Recycled ____." Glenn Ivey, also a former federal lobbyist, had considered challenging Rep. Donna Edwards for the Democratic nomination in the 4th Congressional District, but pulled out of the race Wednesday, saying he had not raised enough money to mount a serious challenge.

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