Brad Sherman releases federal tax returns
Saying voters are entitled to know whether their elected officials are “paying our fair share,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) on Tuesday released copies of his 2011 federal income tax returns—and challenged his main rival to do the same.
“I believe it is extremely important to demonstrate my commitment to transparency during a time of rising cynicism about whether our nation’s political leaders are paying their fair share in taxes,” Sherman said.
Sherman is engaged in a tough reelection battle with Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village) for the same San Fernando Valley seat. Both their homes were placed in the 30th Congressional District by an independent commission that redrew state political maps last year, setting up a contentious, costly race between the two former allies.
The Berman campaign did not immediately respond to Sherman’s challenge.
Sherman and his wife, Lisa, reported adjusted-gross income of $235,743, including $195,080 from his salary as a member of Congress and her work for part of last year with the State Department, and investment dividends and sales. They reported a loss from an investment in an Oklahoma oil drilling company.
The Shermans paid $39,389 in federal income taxes and $7,717 in California income taxes; they were in the 28% federal tax bracket. The Shermans also reported making more than $20,000 in charitable contributions last year and paid $12,248 in “nanny taxes” related to child care for their three small daughters.
Sherman, in urging Berman to follow suit, said the federal ethics laws that require members of Congress to disclose personal financial details do not go far enough and do not require the disclosure of how much tax a lawmaker pays.
“The only way for voters to really get a true picture of what an elected official pays in taxes — and if they’re paying their fair share — is to see the official’s full tax return, signed and in black-and-white,” said Sherman, who worked as a CPA and tax attorney before winning his first election.
This is the first time Sherman has made his tax returns public.
Photo: Howard Berman, left, and Brad Sherman at a candidates forum in January. Credit: Jay R. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times