Sheheen releases tax returns, urges Haley to do likewise

Again, Vincent Sheheen is challenging Ms. Transparency to live up to the reputation that she seems to want to have:

Sheheen releases tax returns, calls for transparency from all SC leaders
Senator calls for leaders to “walk the walk” on transparency and ethics reform
Camden, SC – Today, Sen. Vincent Sheheen released his 2011 and 2012 tax returns. These returns join the ten years of tax returns that Sen. Sheheen released during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, and statements of income disclosure from his time in the Senate that have all been disclosed previously. Sen. Sheheen has led bipartisan efforts to include full income disclosure in ethics reform in the state legislature as part of his career-long fight to restructure and reform the inefficient and corrupt government in South Carolina.
“Without ethical leaders, we won’t have ethical government. I have chosen to release 12 years of tax returns because it’s not enough to say one thing and do another on ethics and leadership. We have to walk the walk,” said Sen. Sheheen. “I call on other leaders in our state to release their returns as well. Governor Haley especially should release her most recent tax returns, as well as the ten years prior that she refused to disclose during the last campaign. South Carolinians deserve full disclosure and transparency, not just more political rhetoric absent results.”
Sheheen for South Carolina will make copies of Sen. Sheheen’s 2011 and 2012 tax returns available to the media for review at 915 Lady Street in Columbia from Tuesday, May 28th at 1:00pm through Friday, May 31st at 6:00pm. Please contact to set up a time.

I just had one question for the Sheheen campaign, though — why not just put it all online, or otherwise make the returns available electronically? As a PDF, or whatever. Seems like that would make the point more… pointedly.

Anyway, The State has gone ahead and looked at them, and reported:

COLUMBIA — S.C. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen made $535,000 in 2011 and 2012, according to federal and state income tax filings released Tuesday.

Sheheen, a state senator from Kershaw County, earned almost all of his income from his Camden law practice.

He paid $131,360 in taxes and donated $21,580 to charity over the past two tax years.

The 42-year-old father of three made $310,273 in 2011 with an taxable income of $282,258. He earned $224,920 last year with a taxable income of $198,218…

The State‘s Andy Shain also reports:

Gov. Nikki Haley will release her returns for 2012 next week, her office said…

54 thoughts on “Sheheen releases tax returns, urges Haley to do likewise

  1. Doug Ross

    Now would be a great time to ask him what his thoughts are on your belief that the Social Security maximum income should be eliminated. He’d be on the hook for roughly another $20K (plus employer match unless he has to pay that as well) for the past two years.

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            I would pay more taxes if everyone similarly situated also did. I like good roads, parks, schools, health care for all…..

          2. Mark Stewart

            The cap should be eliminated. If one makes seven figures it just doesn’t matter as far as income is concerned.

          3. Doug Ross

            I have a philosophical aversion to paying more for something than others pay for it just because I earn more. I already pay more than my share.

          4. Mark Stewart

            You wouldn’t be; you would be paying the same as everyone else – not more. Yes, of course more income taxes, but not more FICA.

          5. Steven Davis II

            Instead of voluntarily paying more taxes, why not ask for spending cuts. I bet I could find 10% cuts to every program that wouldn’t affect the main purpose of the organization at all. That existing money could then be reallocated to better use. It’s too easy to keep wasting money and then just ask for more when you start running low on pet projects.

          6. Doug Ross

            @Mark – How do you figure? 13.2% of a big number is a lot more than 13.2% of a small number. Will the payouts at retirement be scaled to include all the extra money paid in?

            Let’s take Lebron James as an example. He makes $30 million a year. With the cap eliminated, he’ll pay in nearly $4 million into Social Security. He’ll do that for the next ten years. So $40 million paid in. How much does he get out? And if you say “He doesn’t deserve to get it back” then we’re never going to agree.

            Companies that pay the FICA would also be expected to cover the matched value over the maximum, right? Where does that money come from? Either by cutting jobs or raising prices.

        1. Steven Davis II

          @Mark – If they eliminate the FICA cap, would they also then eliminate the cap on SS benefits? Would people like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates get monthly checks for $120,000 vs. grandma who gets $1200?

          1. Mark Stewart

            Yes, they should. Steve, the best thing to do would be to start raising the Social Security elligability age one month per year.

            Either we just call FICA a tax, or we treat it as a retirement/disability program. It is the sacred cow that must evolve. Providing a social safety net is an essential function of government. But we have moved far beyond that, and that is the problem. The entire conception of the system has moved beyond what it can support. One way or the other it must change. I could go either way as far as reconceptualizing SocialmSecurity goes, but I will never tolerate the continuance of the system as it is now. Why perpetuate that which is unsustainable?

    1. Doug Ross

      Here’s what I’d like to see Vincent Sheehen do: show us what kind of Governor he would be. When the next budget is released, how about he tells the people of South Carolina what (if anything) he would veto? Let’s see an example of his executive ability.

  2. Silence

    I’m fine with removing the cap from SS taxes, if we remove the upper limit on SSI payments to reflect people’s additional contribution to the system.

    Also, agreed that Jamie Farr Doppleganger (Sheheen) would have released PDF’s of his taxes online if he was serious about transparency.

    1. Bart

      “Also, agreed that Jamie Farr Doppleganger (Sheheen)”…Silence

      Why do you continue to insult Jamie Farr by comparing him with Sheheen? What did a decent guy from Toledo do to you anyway? Was it the crossdressing on Mash?

      Just noticed I keep misspelling Sheheen’s name. Sorry Kathryn, I will try to do better in the future. (Kathryn is the official hall monitor for spelling and language on this blog. Well, someone needs to do it, why not her?)

      1. Silence

        Bart – Nothing against transvestites. It’s Democrats that I have a problem with! I didn’t mean to sully Klinger’s good name by associating him with Sheheen. I will ship him some hot dog from Paco’s next time I am up in Toledo, and I’ll go ahead and sign his Section 8 so that he can go home from Korea.

        1. Bart

          Silence – IT WAS NOT MEANT AS CRITICISM. However, he will appreciate the hot dogs and the Section 8 he worked so hard to get. Paco’s (actually Packo’s) does have great hot dogs – my sister lived in Toledo for a long time.

        2. Mark Stewart

          I have a problem with partisans. Anyone whose worldview is narrower than their actual needs is a real problem to me.

          Maybe I just have a low tolerance for idiots.

          There is no contest between Haley and Sheheen as to whom would be a better governor. That doesn’t mean I believe that he is the best. Just that he is better. If Lee Bright challenges Haley, I would vote for her. SC has an effective one-party system, and always has. So why does anyone really care about party labels? It’s the dumbest game in town.

        3. Brad Warthen Post author

          First, I really think it’s a disservice to Sheheen to say he looks like Jamie Farr. Basically, they both look Lebanese (or from somewhere in the Levant), and that’s about it. It’s kind of like saying two black people look alike because they’re black.

          Also — I suppose that the military can still bar transvestites, on the grounds that they’re out of uniform. So I suppose Klinger would have a case.

          Frankly, I was never a fan of that TV show, although it was sort of impossible to avoid it during that era. You got to know the characters whether you wanted to or not, sort of like with “I Love Lucy.” I wasn’t that crazy about the movie, either, although I enjoyed the novel.

          And I felt like the Klinger character was a rather severe case of jumping the shark.

  3. Doug Ross

    And this is just another in what will be an endless string of coordinated “Hammer Haley” messages. Sheheen piously calls for Haley to release her tax returns — which she was going to do anyway. Then he calls on her to release them going back to 2002. She’s already released them back to 2004 when she first ran.

    It’s political gamesmanship rather than leadership. I don’t like Haley but I have no confidence that Vincent Sheheen brings anything to the table that would make a difference.

    1. Bart

      Doug, you are absolutely dead on the money. Haley has already released her returns back to 2004 so in the game of one upmanship, Sheehen releases his back to 2002 and makes a major point of “requesting” Haley release hers when as you pointed out, she was planning to do anyway. If Sheehen wanted to establish his “bona fides” then he would have waited an appropriate amount of time and if Haley had not released her returns, then call her out on it.

      The way he did it was nothing more than another cheap political shot by a typical politician.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Steven says above, “I bet I could find 10% cuts to every program that wouldn’t affect the main purpose of the organization at all…”

    So could I, probably. And any of us could find more than 10 percent in the overall budget that we’d cut, eliminating entire programs. Every elected representative could do that, too.

    The challenge is getting a majority to agree on the SAME cuts….

  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    Note that cutting 10 percent from the overall budget would be FAR easier than doing so from certain programs.

    For instance, I don’t think I’d want to cut another 10 percent from the SC Department of Corrections. Of course, if SC would bite the bullet and stop locking up people who don’t need to be incarcerated — monitor them instead, and let them work and pay restitution — we could make big cuts in that budget. But as long as we continue to think it’s “soft on crime” not to lock up so many people, we really can’t afford to cut that budget any more.

    1. Doug Ross

      The only people who should be in jail are those who commit acts of violence on others, use a weapon in the commission of a crime, and some of the criminals who steal large amounts of money. Decriminalize drugs and prostitution.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I would not decriminalize drugs and prostitution, but otherwise we’re on the same track.

        Most prisoners don’t need to be there. But I would amend your standard somewhat — I’d give consideration not just to whether someone has committed violence, but whether they are likely to do so in the future.

        And “violence” to me would include sexual abuse. For instance, I’m inclined to lock up child molesters forever, because I don’t think they ever get cured of that. (If there’s credible new research to the contrary, let me know.)

        1. Doug Ross

          Has criminalizing drugs and prostitution done anything to reduce the existence of either? How many people don’t partake of either just because they are illegal? I also think there shouldn’t be fines for speeding – only a ticket that would be reported to your insurance company which would allow them to raise your rates. Speeding tickets are about generating revenue and not safety.

        2. bud

          I would not only decriminalize drugs I’d make them legal, especially marijuana. Colorado’s governor just signed the paperwork to do so. It will be interesting to see what impact that has on a variety of safety issues. I suspect little, if any, measureable consequences will result. There is no valid reason to send people to jail or even give them a fine for possessing a plant such as marijuana. It would be the same as sending someone to jail for possessing a pound of Starbucks Blonde Roast. They’re both equally as benign when consumed in moderation. Frankly anyone who has even the slightest respect for individual freedom should be appauled that we continue to jail people for a marijuana “crime”. South Carolina will likely be one of the last to come to it’s senses on this common sense issue.

        3. Steven Davis II

          “I would not decriminalize drugs and prostitution, but otherwise we’re on the same track.”

          Both could be regulated, similar to alcohol and massage parlors.

        4. Splinter Cell

          If you support drug prohibition, then you support the very same thing the cartels and neighborhood gangs support. You might as well be standing next to them shaking their hands, because they don’t want an end to prohibition either.

      2. Mark Stewart

        So burglary and theft and extortion and child porn and intimidation and other similar “nonviolent” crimes should be decriminalized as well then? We have thousands of years of history codifying laws to adress behavior that negatively effects society. Should we just roll all that back?

        Drugs are already decriminalized for some people; or the laws have been selectively enforced is probably a better way of putting it. In this way, drugs and DSS are similar; only some users will be profiled for prosecution. Prostitution is a problem because we generally choose to criminalize the prostitute and let pass the john, and even the pimp. Again, selective enforcement is the real issue.

    2. Silence

      Put the criminals in surplus army tents, down in the swamp. No air conditioning, bread and water, no TV, no cigs, very few visitors, and plenty of good old hard labor. Make roads, turn big rocks into little rocks, dig holes, clean state office buildings, pick up litter. Dress em in woolen stripey-suits stripey-suits and have em tote around an iron ball, strapped to their ankle. Replace their toilets with latrines or pit toilets.

      There, I just cut at least 10% from the corrections budget. Too easy.

      1. Steven Davis II

        What!!! You’re not going to let lounge around their cells and watch American Idol or Dancing with the Stars?!?! You must be a Republican.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        You know, people who imagine that inmates in state prisons have it soft — or for that matter, that prison life is anything short of hellish — really, really need to go spend some time in a prison.

        In my lengthy newspaper career, I had numerous opportunities to spend time in both state prisons and county jails, in Tennessee and SC, and I can tell you, prison has nothing to recommend it. It’s funny how people always focus on the availability of TV. If you had a 60″ plasma screen with the full premium cable package, it wouldn’t make prison life bearable.

        It’s been years now since I was in a prison. The last time was when Jon Ozmint, who was then head of corrections, invited Warren Bolton and me to go along with him to observe a shakedown. We joined him at his office before dawn, and he drove us out to McCormick County.

        The thing about a shakedown is that all the prisoners get turned out of their cells and have to stand on the catwalk while the guards go through everything in the cell — so we got a good look at inmate life.

        It’s not anything you’d wish on anyone who had not committed a truly heinous crime.

        Since then, I’m pretty sure things have gotten worse, because the corrections budget has been cut and cut and cut. Even then, the prison was badly understaffed, and there were significant evident holes in perimeter security.

        So while I haven’t been inside in awhile. I’m pretty sure that with tighter and tighter budgets, life for prisoners hasn’t gotten any better than it was.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Probably the worst prison or jail I ever saw was the old Carroll County jail in Tennessee.

          There was this big kidnapping case that I was following closely as a reporter back in 1978 — they had kidnapped the daughter of the richest man in the county, a guy who had manufactured all the furniture for Holiday Inns — and the kidnappers almost escaped. How? By digging their way out through the wall with a spoon.

          A year or two later, Carroll County finally built itself a new jail.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            That case was a very big story at the time in Tennessee, and I kept scooping everybody else. I did it by cultivating the lawyers on all sides, including the special prosecutors that the family hired because the public prosecutor was so incompetent.

            I got the attempted jail-break story from one of the kidnappers’ lawyers. Another scoop. Of course, I didn’t mention him in the story (which I had confirmed with official sources); I didn’t want to get my source in trouble.

            Next day, he called me and he was livid. He said he’d never give me another story. Why? Because I hadn’t mentioned him, so he missed a chance at free publicity in a story that would be picked up statewide and beyond.

            Small-town lawyers used to be very colorful. Some of them still are, I’m sure…

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          But back to the topic…

          We need to lock up fewer people NOT because it’s mean to put people in prison, but because it doesn’t make sense. It’s the most expensive possible option, and why lock someone up when you could monitor them out in the community, and they could be working and paying restitution?

          Throwing all these people in prison and throwing away the key is just stupid.

  6. Kathryn Fenner

    Decriminalizing is not the same as making legal. You could get a ticket. You just don’t go to jail. Seems like a good idea to me.

  7. Doug Ross

    From the interview with Sheheen:

    “Does he support the push for federal immigration reform currently going through Congress? “I don’t really know enough about that to tell you.”” There’s one check on Juan Caruso’s weasel word monitor.

    What’s his specific plan to implement the national health care law that passed in 2010? “I can’t give you a detailed answer because I haven’t studied it.” Check number two.

    “”She talks incessantly about national issues,” Sheheen told Yahoo News. “She rarely talks about South Carolina issues. I’ll talk about those policies, and I’ll talk about those ideas. Check number three. I am no fan of Haley but to suggest that she talks “incessantly” about national issues is a bald faced lie. There are some national issues that do impact the state of South Carolina. As Governor, she SHOULD talk about them.

    His willingness to adopt the state mandates in the law, he was careful to add, doesn’t mean he approves of the law.
    “I didn’t support Obamacare, but we are where we are, and we have to work with what we have to work with,” he told Yahoo News. “I opposed the mandates in 2010, and I still feel like that was the wrong approach. I think that there’s been a lot of confusion, and I think you need a governor who finds ways to stop the bad things from happening and works to make the good things occur.””

    I will admit that he is very skilled at talking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.

    1. Doug Ross

      So he didn’t support Obamacare but he didn’t study it. Do we want a Governor who makes his mind up about a subject without studying it?

    2. Brad Warthen

      Here’s what I hear, over and over:

      SHEHEEN: Let’s talk about South Carolina.

      HALEY: Obama, Obama, Obama!

      The offensive thing about Sanford’s “Pelosi, Pelosi, Pelosi!” campaign was the way it stooped to the Haley level….

      1. Doug Ross

        It’s really:


        I’d like to see Sheheen spend just one week talking about South Carolina without mentioning Haley. He’s a one trick pony.

          1. Doug Ross

            You mean like his ethics reform bill that Democrats (and fake Republicans like
            Hugh Leatherman) are going to to kill this year?

            Let’s see if he takes on those people like he does Haley.

    3. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s not two sides at all. It’s like the position that Cindi Scoppe (who’s had occasion to study it all much more closely than I have) took, and I found her arguments very well-reasoned.

      She agreed with “Nikki Haley’s HHS director” Tony Keck that there are better ways to provide more people with health coverage than the Medicaid expansion.

      But this is it; the decision has been made. We don’t get to pick from column B. You either do it the way Obamacare does it, or you don’t get it done.

      That’s common sense, not talking out of both sides of your mouth.

      That said, I disagree with him on the mandates. Without mandates, real reform is impossible. But I agree with him on the issue actually before South Carolina, which is Medicaid expansion.

      And I really don’t give a tinker’s dam what a candidate for governor of South Carolina thinks about those hot-button federal issues. I think it’s a complete waste of time for a journalist even to ask about them, because they are irrelevant. But I suppose national media do that, because those are the issues they know (also, asking those questions fits into their simplistic, ones-and-zeroes, binary view of politics); they’re unfamiliar with the relevant ones.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        To elaborate…

        I don’t expect a candidate for governor to have a detailed plan for implementation of something like Obamacare. He doesn’t have the policy experts of HHS at his disposal. I DO expect him to have a rational position on the subject.

        Expanding Medicaid, at least for the period when the feds foot the whole bill, is the rational position.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        Nikki looks at Obamacare and sees OBAMAcare, which is all she thinks she needs to know.

        Vincent looks at it and sees obamaCARE. Therein lies the difference.

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