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Jeb Bush Releases 33 Years of Tax Returns

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) released more than three decades of his tax returns Tuesday afternoon, posting the link on his Twitter account:

In a message on his website, Bush wrote:

Today, I’m releasing 33 years of tax returns – more than any presidential candidate in history. You might remember a few months back, in the spirit of transparency, I posted 280,000 emails from my time as governor on JebEmails.com. Some of them were funny, some serious, some a little embarrassing. But I put them all out because I wanted people to have a window into my leadership style and be able to see for themselves how I handled the issues facing our state…

Today’s release comes in the same spirit because most of my adult life has been spent in the private sector – not in government.  This release will show voters how I earned a living over the past three decades and how much of that living I had to give back to Uncle Sam. (Spoiler Alert: A LOT).

“This is more than any presidential candidate in the history of the United States. This display of transparency is consistent with the high level of disclosure he has practiced during his life in public office,” said Bush spokeswoman Allie Brandenburger.

Bush also included a message from Abraham N.M. Shashy, Jr., Former Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service, that Shashy had reviewed the Bush tax returns and found them to be “prepared conservatively and timely,” and in compliance with the law:

There is no indication of aggressive or improper tax planning.  Based on the returns, in my professional view, Governor and Mrs. Bush have been fully taxed on their income consistent with U.S. tax principles and have fulfilled their obligations as United States taxpayers.

Since Bush left the Florida Governor’s office in January 2007 due to term limits, Bush has had a lucrative career in the private sector, forming his own investment firm and serving on the boards for several large businesses and philanthropies.

One of Bush’s challenges in the Republican presidential primary is reassuring voters weary of the idea of a Bush dynasty and worried about the influence Wall Street has on Washington. Back in April, Breitbart News reported on concerns about connections between Bush’s corporate board work and liberal causes. Providing this level of transparency into his finances is undoubtedly aimed at these issues.

Bush is most likely also trying to avoid one of the pitfalls faced by former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) in his 2012 campaign, where Democrats including Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) demanded the release of years of tax returns, suggesting that there were improprieties hidden in Romney’s tax planning.

Regardless, this extensive disclosure by Bush is unusual. As CNN reported, Tuesday’s release of 33 years of tax returns is “the latest move aimed at portraying Bush as a transparent candidate — one who contrasts Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, whose candidacy has been marred in questions about her use of a private email server and her disclosures of emails during her time as secretary of state.”

Bush takes a swipe at Clinton in his post, noting that, “I have paid a higher tax rate than the Clintons even though I earned less income.” According to Bush, he paid an average tax rate of 36 percent, compared to Clinton’s 30 percent tax rate for 2014.

Breitbart News will continue to follow this story.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.

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