COLUMBIA - South Carolina's Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Sen. Vincent Sheheen, released his 2013 tax return on Monday and called on his Republican opponent to do the same.
The issue is a reprise from the 2010 campaign, when Sheheen and Gov. Nikki Haley sparred over the issue. Haley's tax returns - and her alleged failure to report income on economic disclosure forms - also became an issue in the Republican primary that year, although it was later determined Haley was not required to disclose certain income. Haley also has faced criticism for filing her personal income taxes late.
Both candidates have advocated for ethics reform, including a requirement that lawmakers disclose their sources of income.
Sheheen's total income for 2013 was $333,042. He paid $79,852 in federal taxes and $10,115 in state taxes, according to a copy of the returns provided to reporters.
Sheheen said his income comes from his general law practice in Camden and real-estate investments. Sheheen's campaign asked that the documents not be posted online because they contain personal information, but paper copies were provided.
Sheheen said he has now released a total of 14 years of tax returns and he asked Haley to do the same. Haley has allowed reporters to look at copies of returns since 2004, when she was elected to the S.C. House of Representatives. Haley plans to release her 2013 tax return, according to her campaign.
The Democratic senator's past income tax returns show his income rose from $73,641 in 2000, before he won a state House seat, to $372,509 in 2009, when he served in the state Senate and launched his bid for governor, according to The Associated Press.
Sheheen attributed his rising income to hard work and said that his opponent has mostly worked for the government. Haley was a consultant for a Columbia hospital before being elected to the House of Representatives.
"She's worked for the government for almost the last decade straight," Sheheen said. "She can live in the bubble of government employment. I'm out there in the real world helping real people with real problems."
Haley's campaign called on Sheheen to disclose more about his law practice. As a lawyer, Sheheen said he is barred from sharing the names of clients.
"This is just a stunt by Vince Sheheen," Haley campaign spokesman Rob Godfrey said in an email. "We will know Vince is serious when he stops hiding the details of the income he's received as a trial lawyer defending violent criminals, drug dealers, and child predators, and when he stops voting against ethics reforms that require legislators to disclose their income."
Sheheen's law firm has received state dollars for workers' compensation cases, which are adjudicated by legislative appointees, according to 2010 media reports.
Sheheen's work as a criminal defense attorney has drawn scrutiny from Republicans, who say voters should question his values for taking on clients with violent histories. The candidate and other lawyers have said Sheheen should not be criticized for criminal defense work.
Reach Jeremy Borden at 708-5837.