Politics

Illinois Gubernatorial Race Tackles Cayman Islands Offshore Accounts

By | Aug 11, 2014 02:24 PM EDT
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As Illinois' gubernatorial race comes to a near deadheat, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican rival Bruce Rauner slam each other for their investments in the Cayman Islands, a place well-known for its tax neutral status.

After news of Rauner's investments in the Caymans came out, Quinn blasted Rauner and claimed he had set up the accounts to avoid paying taxes and called him unpatriotic.

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"Bruce Rauner is not running for governor of the Cayman Islands," he said.

Together with running mate Paul Vallas, the governor called on Rauner to provide full disclosure of all his previous tax returns.

Vallas said the public had a right to know whether the gubernatorial candidate was abiding by his full tax obligations and that the only way to do that was to provide the constituents proof of his tax schedules.

In response, Rauner's camp hit back and said Quinn's pension trust - as does most other Illinois teachers and other public servants - are tied to investments in the Caymans.

Quinn's spokeswoman Brooke Anderson argued that the pension funds are handled by the state's pension board, adding that Quinn's pension is fixed.

"Governor Quinn's bank accounts are all located in Illinois, United States of America," she said.

Rauner's spokesman, Mike Schrimpf, noted that Quinn appoints some of the members in the state's pension board.

Rauner, a businessman and private equity investor, said the offshore accounts were set up during his time with his previous firm, which he said was common practice especially among financial institutions since the Caymans allowed for freer regulations in moving capital internationally.

He added that the offshore investments did not affect his tax rates and that he has fully disclosed such information to the government.

But Rauner's camp refused to reveal further tax documentation, claiming that it was just a political stunt meant to draw attention away from Quinn's own record.

Rauner filed over US$25 million in taxes over the past three years and reported an income of US$53 million in 2012, Schrimpf said.

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