- Stephen Deere The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Mayoral Candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms posted unsigned copies of her federal income tax returns to her website late Wednesday night.
But the returns are heavily redacted and don’t include all the schedules that would have been submitted to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
Bottoms’ campaign did not issue a press release in advance of posting the documents to her website.
Throughout the campaign for mayor, Bottoms championed proposed legislation that would require candidates for elected office in Atlanta to make public their tax returns.
Yet Bottoms only released hers after extensive public prodding that occurred following her opponent, Mary Norwood’s, decision to make her returns public last week.
Norwood also released her business returns. Bottoms has not.
In 2016, Bottoms earned a total income of $172,488. According to Bottoms return, that amount includes about $5,716 that was reported on a form that lists income derived from partnerships. However, the form is not included with the returns.
As a city councilwoman, Bottoms receives a salary of $60,300. In April 2015, she was hired to head the Fulton County Recreation Authority, a job that at the time paid $135,000. The total income reported on Bottoms’ return would not include money contributed to pretax salary plans.
Bottoms was criticized for taking the position in 2015 because of potential conflicts of interests surrounding business relationships between the authority and the city.
Bottoms routinely recused herself from city council votes involving the authority.
The unsigned returns Bottoms has made available show that the she files her income tax return separately from her husband, Derek, a vice president at The Home Depot.
On Tuesday, Bottoms held a press conference on the steps of City Hall to announce her plan to reform ethics and increase transparency in City Hall, against the backdrop of a federal bribery investigation that led to the city’s chief procurement officer pleading guilty to taking bribes.
The fourth point of the plan would require all candidates for elected offices to file tax returns for the past five years with city clerk 70 days prior to the election.
Bottoms had not released her tax returns at the time.
A campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to emails early Thursday about why Bottoms had only released a portion of her 2015 return, why Bottoms 2016 return didn’t appear to reflect the total amount of her income and whether Bottoms planned to also release her business returns.
Earlier this week, two high-profile political figures, former Mayor Shirley Franklin and former City Council President Cathy Woolard endorsed Norwood over Bottoms. Both said Norwood was better positioned to restore trust in City Hall.
Bottoms has been endorsed by current Mayor Kasim Reed, former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young, Councilman Kwanza Hall and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. On Thursday, Bottoms’ campaign announced that former congressional candidate Jon Ossoff was endorsing her.
When Woolard endorsed Norwood on Wednesday, she said: “I feel like the lack of transparency at City Hall has crushed the spirit of our city and I feel like we need a clean break with this administration and a new start here with a fresh set of players.”
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