Former Governor Terry Branstad’s campaign staff released Branstad’s tax returns this afternoon for review by reporters and Governor Chet Culver’s stafff released similar information half an hour later.
The documents reveal Branstad walked away from a more than $330,000 annual salary to seek a fifth term as governor. Branstad, who is 63, retired from his job as president of Des Moines University this past October to run for governor, a job that carries a yearly salary of $130,000.
“Governor Branstad has talked a lot about transparency in this campaign and it was his opinion that when you’re running for the office of governor you need to hold yourself to a little higher standard when it comes to issues such as your personal tax return,” says Jeff Boeyink, Branstad’s campaign manager. “And it was his decision that we should release a fairly detailed summary of he and Mrs. Branstad’s 2009 tax return.”
Branstad’s tax returns also reveal the former governor has already begun received a state IPERS pension of more than $50,000. Branstad’s campaign manager says it’s not clear whether Branstad would continue to receive that pension if he’s elected to another term.
“He has no interest in collecting additional IPERS as a result of his service should he be elected governor again,” Boeyink says. “Obviously, he’s due what is already owed to him. He’s certainly not interested in adding to that and so whether he can do that voluntarily or whether that would require some kind of a legislative change — he’s totally open to doing that.”
Branstad has promised to resign from his paid positions on four corporate boards and put his investments in a blind trust if he is elected in November.
Governor Chet Culver released his tax return late Monday afternoon, revealing he and his wife, who is an attorney, earned just over $126,000 in 2009. Culver cut his own salary by 10 percent in October when he ordered an across-the-board cut in the state budget and his 2009 tax return indicates Culver earned about $109,000 last year. Culver is seeking a second, four-year term as governor.
Bob Vander Plaats, another 2010 Republican candidate for governor, released his tax return data this morning. Vander Plaats, who is a business consultant, reported he and his wife, Darla, had an adjusted gross income of just over $103,000 last year. Vander Plaats reported an annual salary of nearly $60,000 from MVP Consulting, the consulting firm he heads.
Branstad’s campaign officials allowed reporters to read Terry and Christine Branstad’s tax return documents in a conference room at campaign headquarters, but did not allow copies to leave the room, citing confidentiality concerns. The C.P.A. who prepared the Branstad’s returns was on hand to answer specific questions.
Culver’s campaign staff allowed “credentialed media” to review Culver’s Iowa income tax returns. Vander Plaats issued a news release this morning summarizing the Vander Plaats’ tax information.