“Dixon’s campaign didn’t offer an explanation why the tax return wasn’t released until October, after months of questions about whether she would.” – MLive
After initially refusing to release even a single year of her tax returns, then dodging “months of questions” as to when or if she ever would, Michiganders are still right where they started with Tudor Dixon – far from having anything close to a “complete picture” of her personal finances. Her consistent lack of transparency is a stark contrast with Governor Whitmer, who has set records as the most transparent governor in decades by voluntarily disclosing a “tax return, financial disclosure and travel breakdown [for] each year she’s been in office.”
According to ethics expert Delaney Marsco, this leaves the following “problematic” holes in Dixon’s personal financial history:
- Who paid Dixon over $57,000 into a previously undisclosed LLC, registered to her home address and why she is continuing to hide the sources of her income
- How much she was really compensated for while anchoring her show on “hard-right network” Real America’s Voice
- What entities or interests paid her $87,833 in “other income” that her campaign has refused to provide any information about
Additionally, MLive reports that another venture of Dixon’s founded with her current campaign advisor, Olson-Dixon Media “received a $17,912 Paycheck Protection Program loan to pay two employees” in 2020, more than $15,406 of which was forgiven within. The company dissolved in 2021 and it remains “unclear whether the company was actively conducting business” when it came into the free taxpayer-provided funding.
MLive: What’s Shown and Hidden in Whitmer’s and Dixon’s Financial Disclosures
By Simon Schuster
Michigan voters can finally see tax returns for both of the state’s major gubernatorial candidates.
As recently as Oct. 7, Republican candidate Tudor Dixon wouldn’t commit to releasing tax returns. But they’ve since appeared on her campaign website without fanfare.
Filing jointly with her husband, Aaron Dixon, they reported earning $232,989 in pre-tax income and paying $26,511 in federal taxes, for an effective tax rate of 21%.
Her campaign also produced at MLive’s request a financial disclosure similar to the limited disclosures provided by Dixon’s Democratic opponent, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The disclosure has since been posted to her campaign website.
Publicly releasing tax returns and financial disclosures — depending how much is disclosed — has become a signal of a candidate’s commitment to transparency and a means of communicating to voters they’re trustworthy and follow the law.
Whitmer has voluntarily released a tax return, financial disclosure and travel breakdown each year she’s been in office. She and her 2018 opponent, former Attorney General Bill Schuette, released their 2016 and 2017 tax returns shortly after they were completed the spring afterward.
In 2021 Whitmer filed taxes separately from her husband, dentist Marc Mallory. She reported $151,173 in pre-tax income, paying $25,620 in federal taxes. That comes to a 17.5% effective tax rate. […]
Financial disclosures are a crucial accountability tool, said Delaney Marsco, senior legal counsel for ethics at the Campaign Legal Center. […]
“Voters have a right to know that their elected officials are acting in the public’s interest and not in the interest of their own bottom line, their own financial interest,” Marsco said. […]
In a statement, Whitmer campaign spokesperson Maeve Coyle said Whitmer was the first governor in state history to make voluntary disclosure, criticizing Dixon’s delayed release.
“By contrast, DeVos-backed Tudor Dixon has released less personal financial information than Michigan gubernatorial candidates in years as she tries to cover her tracks just weeks before the election,” Coyle said. “Michiganders deserve to know who their leaders are really working for, and Dixon clearly has something to hide.”
Dixon’s campaign didn’t offer an explanation why the tax return wasn’t released until October, after months of questions about whether she would, nor did they include any other years’ returns. Dixon began her campaign for governor in May 2021, meaning the documents provided this week don’t cover a full year of employment.
“Tudor Dixon believes that transparency helps give people confidence that elected officials are following the same rules as all Michiganders,” Dixon campaign spokesperson Sara Broadwater said in a statement.
According to Dixon’s supplied disclosure, she earned $57,836 in income in 2021. A company called LINQS, LLC, registered to Dixon’s husband, paid her $48,708 of that total. A source with Dixon’s campaign said the LLC was established to collect Dixon’s earnings as a media personality, but did not specify who had paid Dixon through the company.
Dixon had formerly anchored a live program on the hard-right network Real America’s Voice, but left after launching her campaign. Marsco finds this problematic, saying it isn’t the “true source of income.”
Another company, Cornerstone Foundry Supply, LLC, which Dixon manages, according to state filings, paid her a little more than $9,000. She and her husband co-own their home, which has a state equalized value of nearly $200,000.
Without prior years’ return, it becomes difficult to get a complete picture of Dixon’s finances. In 2020 her company Olson-Dixon Media, which she started with her campaign’s senior adviser Kyle Olsen, received a $17,912 Paycheck Protection Program loan to pay two employees. According to ProPublica, $15,406 was ultimately forgiven by the loan provider. It’s unclear whether the company was actively conducting business in 2020, and it dissolved about a year later.
While Dixon’s husband is an accountant, the couple also reported $87,833 in “other income,” which could be anything from business losses to gambling earnings or an award. They took $42,027 in deductions. […]
The key for effective disclosure, Marsco said, is uniform rules all elected officials must follow.
“These officials are crafting laws, they’re making policies that affect everybody in the state in this case, and so voters have a right to know whether those people are acting in the public’s interest,” she said.