Politics

Cindy McCain Won’t Release Tax Returns

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Should the spouse of a presidential candidate be expected to disclose his or her tax returns if the couple files separately? That’s the question now that Cindy McCain has declared she will never make her tax returns public. Opponents of John McCain are already criticizing this move but Mrs. McCain says it’s a matter of privacy.

A natural impulse might be to ask “what is she hiding?” But that’s a slippery slope of an impulse. We can’t assume anyone who wants privacy has something seedy to hide. Then again, the McCain’s have to know that such a refusal will raise questions. Wouldn’t it be easier just to release her returns?

Personally, I’m o.k. with her keeping her tax returns secret. She’s always filed separately from her husband and has business and family financial interests that have little or nothing to do with John McCain’s public career. Even though she is now a “public figure,” I don’t think the need for transparency in government should require her to disclose financial matters that she’s always kept separate from her husband. We aren’t electing Cindy McCain and unless there are convincing allegations that John McCain has been using his wife’s finances to funnel illegal campaign contributions, I think we should respect the woman’s choice to keep her tax return private.