Transparency Challenge for District 2

The race in the Republican primary for Escambia County District 2 is a dogfight. The top candidates – incumbent Gene Valentino, former County Administrator George Touart, State Rep. Dave Murzin and newcomer Karen Sindel – all have had their financial status challenged at one time or another.

Valentino is a millionaire, who filed $750,000 lawsuit over a foreign investment. Touart is a partner in a Mississippi company that did business with Escambia County’s contractors in areas other than this county. Murzin’s main job for the past 12+ years has been tied to the state legislature. Touart supporters are attacking Sindel over her homestead exemption.

The only way for the voters to get a clear understanding of the financial and business dealings of these four candidates is for them to release their personal income tax returns for the years 2004-2008–and 2009 if available.

Let’s see what they each have made since Hurricane Ivan and how they made it. The IN will scan the returns (with tax ids redacted) and post them on this blog.

If President Barack Obama and Gov. Charlie Crist can do it, then these candidates can also. It should be the first question of any candidate forum: have you released your tax returns for the past five years?

Which candidate will truly be open and honest with the voters?