March 29, 2012 (San Diego) -- As April 15 approaches and San Diegans prepare to pay their income taxes, Lori Saldaña, the Democratic frontrunner of the 52nd Congressional District, repeated her challenge to the other candidates to release their tax returns.
Since issuing her original challenge on February 22nd, Saldaña is the only one of ten candidates who has made her taxes public. The leading Republican contender, Brian Bilbray, has agreed to release his returns, but has not done so.
Scott Peters, who is running as a Democrat, has categorically refused to make his tax returns public.
Tea Party member John Stahl responded, "I agree to release my taxes if all candidates did so."
Saldaña noted parallels between Peters’ intransigence and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney whose refusal to release his taxes dogged him for months on the campaign trail.
"When Mr. Romney finally released his taxes, we discovered he paid a lower tax rate than most Americans," Saldaña said. "I know Mr. Peters has considerable personal wealth, so I have to wonder if that's why he refused."
When Saldaña issued the challenge last month, she noted that, in a political atmosphere where money has undue influence on elected officials, the public has a right to know how candidates get their money and what their holdings and interests are.
"They also need to know whether candidates pay their fair share in taxes," she said. "I shared my tax return weeks ago. Voters are asking me: When will my opponents do the same? What do they have to hide?"
"It's simple: I believe in transparency," Saldaña stated. "When I talk with San Diegans and hear their stories, it's clear many are still struggling as the economy improves. By releasing my tax returns I want them to know: I get it. I hear you loud and clear. My family's a lot like your family."
Saldaña is leading the other challengers to unseat the long-term Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray in the new-drawn 52nd District, which includes La Jolla, Poway, Mira Mesa, Clairemont, Pacific Beach, Point Loma, Downtown San Diego and Coronado.