NEWARK, N.J. – On Wednesday, 2017 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy released his tax returns from 2015 by allowing reporters two hours to review his tax documents in the conference room of a Hilton in Newark. According to Republican candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, the restrictions Murphy’s campaign put on his tax returns were “insulting.”
In a release immediately following Murphy’s tax return release, Ciattarelli called the release a “peekaboo” with too many limitations.
“Members of the press, with no professional tax expertise, being given two hours to review what are likely hundreds of pages of highly-complicated tax returns is the equivalent of Mr. Murphy not releasing his returns at all,” said Ciattarelli. “Murphy’s other rules prohibiting reporters from taking photographs or making copies of the returns can only have one intent – preventing the kind of detailed professional examination that New Jerseyans are entitled to by someone who wants to be Governor.”
In response to Ciattarelli’s statements, Murphy said that he has been “exceedingly transparent” when it comes to disclosing information.
“We haven’t hidden anything so I don’t accept that criticism at all. I think we have been right up front with this. We did this a few months ago with prior years. We were very open and transparent,” Murphy said.
According to Ciattarelli, Murphy’s decision to limit his tax returns to limited scrutiny is “in essence…the same thing” as President-Elect Donald Trump’s failure to release his tax returns at all. While Ciattarelli is a Republican, the gubernatorial candidate has been consistently critical of Trump.
Murphy rejected the comparison Ciattarelli made between him and Trump.
“I am completely offended by that comment because Donald Trump hasn’t release his taxes and I have so I have no idea what he is talking about,” Murphy said of Ciattarelli’s claim.
Ciattarelli’s statement added that he planned to release his returns without similar restrictions.
According to reports, Murphy’s 2015 tax return shows that the gubernatorial hopeful brought in about $7.3 million in income last year, mostly due to investments. He is a former Goldman Sachs executive.
On the same day Murphy released his tax returns, the gubernatorial candidate was endorsed by the Communications Workers of America. According to N.J. CWA President Hetty Rosenstein, Murphy will represent all New Jerseyans if elected, “not just the one percent.”