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News

Lamont tax returns show average income of more than $8 million per year

Gov. Ned Lamont. On the wall behind him is a Normal Rockwell original, "Right to Know."
Mark Pazniokas
/
CTMirror.org

Gov. Ned Lamont’s adjusted gross income averaged $8.65 million a year in 2018, 2019 and 2020, according to summaries of state and federal tax returns his reelection campaign released Thursday.

Over the three years, Lamont paid $5.56 million in federal taxes and $1.87 million in state taxes on adjusted gross income of $25.9 million, for a combined tax burden of 29%. His charitable contributions for the three years were $3.13 million.

He has obtained an extension for his 2021 tax returns.

The tax returns cover Lamont’s last year before becoming governor in January 2019 and his first two years in office. Lamont’s income was the product of investments, not wages.

He collects no salary as governor.

The documents provided for inspection by reporters, who were not allowed to make copies, were limited in their scope and what they reveal about the wealth and income of Connecticut’s first governor in decades from the world of business.

The governor filed separately from his wife, Annie Lamont, a successful venture capitalist whose investment in a company that provided COVID-19 testing for the state became an issue.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski has promised to release at least summaries of his returns, as he did in October 2018 after Lamont released his. The two men are engaged in a rematch.

“Releasing [Lamont’s] tax returns, as he did in 2018, is about being transparent with Connecticut residents, and they show that he has both paid substantial taxes and made meaningful charitable contributions each year during his first term in office,” said Jake Lewis, the spokesman for the Lamont campaign,

Both candidates are independently wealthy and are substantially funding their own campaigns. Stefanowski has loaned $10 million to his campaign, far more than he did in 2018.

Stefanowski called the governor’s disclosure inadequate.

“There is no itemization, no disclosures, and nothing to report Mrs. Lamont making millions from taxpayer-funded COVID contracts,” Stefanowski said in a prepared statement. “His attempt at transparency is laughable.”

The material released by Lamont is similar to what he and Stefanowski disclosed four years ago.

Stefanowski said the governor should “come clean” on how much money his family made off the COVID-19 testing contract. The Lamonts have promised to contribute whatever benefit they derived to charity.

How their benefit might be calculated is unclear. The current answer, however, appears to be zero.

Sema4, the contractor, was one company in a venture fund that Annie Lamont’s firm assembled, the fund had more than one investor, and the precise impact of the state contract on company’s value is uncertain.

Her firm, Oak HC/FT, has yet to exit from its investment in Sema4, so the firm or Annie Lamont has yet to extract a profit, the campaign said. And the value of any stake in the company has dropped.

Sema4’s stock has dropped from $14.21 a year ago to $2.26 on Thursday.

“Neither Mrs. Lamont nor the governor has profited from Sema4, and any claim to the contrary is a lie,” Lewis said.

Since his election, the governor and first lady also make financial disclosures to the Office of State Ethics, identifying sources of income. Given the complexities of Annie Lamont’s finances and the potential for conflict, she has gone beyond what is required by statute and has released a list of companies in which her firm is invested.

The financial disclosure for 2021 is due next month.

“We look forward to Bob Stefanowski releasing his returns, releasing the list of clients he retained since his last run for governor and showing the world what he earned while leading a payday loan company,” Lewis said in a statement.

Stefanowski had left his position as chief executive officer of DFC Global, a payday loan company barred from doing business in Connecticut due to the state’s usury laws, before launching his first campaign.

Four years ago, Stefanowski released joint tax documents showing adjusted gross incomes of $6.9 million in 2016 and $9.7 million in 2017, the candidate’s last year as chief executive officer of DFC Global.

One question this year is whether he will disclose the sources of his consulting income since then. Stefanowski recently said his sources of income will become clear once he releases his tax data this year.

“The tax return will have all that in there,” Stefanowski said.

Every president since Jimmy Carter has released his tax returns, with the exception of Donald J. Trump.

President Joe Biden reinstated the practice, releasing full returns. Governors and candidates for other high office in Connecticut generally have released partial or full returns in election years.

Lamont reported an AGI of $7.77 million in 2018, $10.14 million in 2019 and $8.02 million in 2020. His combined tax rate was 31% in 2018, 30% in 2019 and 25% in 2020.

Lamont released the first two pages of his federal returns and four pages of his state returns, as well as a list of the 50 institutions he supported with charitable contributions, though not the amounts he gave to each.

They included Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Catholic Charities of Fairfield, CT Against Gun Violence, schools that he and his family members have attended, and the Norman Rockwell Museum.

A Rockwell original he owns hangs behind his desk in his office at the state Capitol.