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Gubernatorial candidate Lujan Grisham releases tax returns

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday released five years of her state and federal income tax returns for the time she’s spent in Congress after previously opting to provide a less detailed congressional disclosure.

The Democratic candidate for governor provided the tax returns from 2013 to 2017 as she has fended off criticism from her two Democratic opponents for not releasing her tax returns and for her ties to a company that helps operate New Mexico’s high risk insurance pool.

“She’s not making millions,” said Dominic Gabello, who is Lujan Grisham’s campaign manager. “She’s not a millionaire.”

Lujan Grisham’s tax returns show her adjusted gross income has dropped over the five-year period, from $271,929 on her 2013 tax return, to $195,129 for the tax year ending Dec. 31, 2017.

For the tax year 2013, Lujan Grisham reported receiving $137,828 in “passive income” from the Delta Consulting Group Inc., a corporation she co-founded in 2008. Last year, the “passive income” from Delta Consulting dropped to $52,081.

“Passive income” is defined by the IRS as coming from either rental activity or trade or business activities in which the taxpayer doesn’t materially participate.

“While other candidates gave their tax returns to specific news media, Congresswoman Lujan Grisham is going above what has been asked and publicly posting her returns online so that all New Mexicans have access to these documents,” her deputy campaign manager Victor Reyes said in a Thursday statement.

Lujan Grisham’s campaign also called on lone Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce, also a U.S. Congressman, to follow suit and release his tax returns for the past five years.

Pearce has declined to provide tax returns, and so far has offered disclosure documents he has filed as a member of Congress. But his campaign has indicated he would release them if his general election opponent did likewise.

According to her tax returns, Lujan Grisham has paid 28 to 31 percent of her adjusted gross income in taxes during the last five years, including of federal and state income, FICA, and Medicare taxes. The tax returns also reflect her status as a caregiver for her mother.

Her principal sources of income have been her congressional salary and her small business profit sharing from Delta Consulting, which she has described as a patient advocacy firm.

Delta Consulting, through a competitively bid state contract, manages the administration of the state’s high risk insurance pool for seriously ill people who have been denied health coverage or otherwise cannot obtain insurance. The contract is paid from a mix of insurance company fees and patient premiums.

Her income tax return for 2017 shows Lujan Grisham’s original purchase of 100 shares of Delta Consulting Group for $300. She sold them for the same amount in divesting herself from the company last June, Gabello said. For the first six months of 2017, up until the sale, she received $52,081 in “passive income” from the firm, he added.

Under long-term capital gains and losses, her return also shows a $39,839 loss on an office condominium in Santa Fe, which was sold for $136,000.

Two other Democrats in the primary election on Tuesday are former media executive Jeff Apodaca and state Sen. Joe Cervantes, D-Las Cruces. Both have accused Lujan Grisham and Delta co-founder Debbie Armstrong of enriching themselves from the insurance contract.

Apodaca and Cervantes recently agreed to a request by the Santa Fe New Mexican to provide their personal income tax returns.

Apodaca’s returns, filed jointly with his wife, show their adjusted gross income was $534,000 in 2016, according to an Associated Press story.

Cervantes, an attorney, redacted the income portion of a return for 2016, but disclosed he and his wife paid $163,000 in federal taxes and $26,855 in state taxes that year.

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