Politics & Government

Democratic candidate for SC governor releases tax returns

S.C. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen has made $721,000 since he ran for the state’s highest office in 2010, according to federal and state income tax filings released Tuesday.

Sheheen, a state senator from Kershaw County, saw his earnings from his Camden law practice drop in half in the year that he lost the 2010 governor’s race to Republican Nikki Haley by less than 5 percentage points. Then, his income rose by two-thirds in 2011 before falling again last year.

A spokeswoman for the S.C. Democratic Party gave no explanation other than “fluctuations in business at (Sheheen’s law) firm.”

Sheheen made $185,966 in 2010, $310,273 in 2011 and $224,920 last year. He earned $346,121 in 2009, the year he entered his first governor’s race.

The 42-year-old father of three paid $172,200 in taxes – about 24 percent of his income – and donated $29,475 – about 4 percent of his income – to charity over the past three years.

Haley will release her 2012 returns next week, her office said.

The pair are expected to face each other again in 2014.

Sheheen, who announced last month he would run again, called for Haley to release her returns dating back to 2002. “South Carolinians deserve full disclosure and transparency, not just more political rhetoric absent results.”

During the 2010 campaign, Sheheen released his tax returns back to 2000 when he first became a legislator.

Haley has made public her returns since 2004, when she was elected to office. The governor is expected to announce her re-election bid this summer.

“This is nothing but a smokescreen to hide Vince’s clear and public attempts to kill ethics reform,” Haley political consultant Tim Pearson said. “If he’s serious about being open with the public, Sheheen will release a list of every dime he has made suing the taxpayers of South Carolina since he first became a lawyer-legislator way back in 2001.”

Sheheen’s campaign said in 2010 that the cases where his firm sued the state represented a small portion of its business.