When a “moderate” Republican loses Channel 7’s Andy Hiller this early in an election cycle, it can’t be good for the GOP. And that appears to be what just happened. Hiller is, well, livid over Gomez’s refusal to acknowledge that there might be something just the teensy-weensiest bit shady about claiming a tax write-off of nearly $300,000 for promising not to do something that you were already legally prohibited from doing. Hiller’s report is really quite good – it concisely explains that the problem isn’t the historic preservation tax break itself, but the manner in which Gomez took advantage of it.
Here are a couple of the highlights – these are direct quotes from Hiller:
It isn’t clear whether Gomez broke the law, but it’s crystal clear he got a giant tax break that doesn’t pass the smell test….
Memo to Gabriel Gomez: this is not something to be proud of, if you’re running for political office.
Because it makes you look like a rich person taking advantage of tax laws very few people know about.
Because it can make voters wonder about your values and ethics.
And because it sounds like a scam, even if it’s not.
Oof. Add to that the ongoing hilarity of Gomez’s refusing to release any information about how much financial benefit this tax break gave him, and you’ve got a serious political problem brewing. Why won’t he release the information from his 2005 tax return? Because “I have nothing to hide.” Aha.
Newbie candidates like Gomez never seem to believe that the old “cover-up is worse than the crime” maxim (and no, nobody’s alleging a “crime” here, it’s just an expression so lighten up) applies to them, just like it does to everyone else. But it does. If Gomez had any sense, he would immediately (a) release the information showing how much the deduction benefited him, and (b) request that the IRS review the details of his deduction, and promise that if they found it improper, he would repay the benefit plus interest. He can afford it, and it’s the right thing to do.