Ron Sparks' unexpected ability to lend his campaign half a million dollars was noted in an editorial Monday by the Mobile Press-Register ...
If Mr. Sparks has had a recent financial windfall, then why not say so? If he’s that good at saving and investing, he should be touting his financial abilities to voters.
His evasions raise serious questions about his integrity and credibility. If he doesn’t see that as a problem, voters certainly should.
and yesterday by both the Huntsville Times ...
Democrat Ron Sparks loaned his coffers $500,000.
Some candidates may be independently wealthy enough to do that. Others may resort to loans when contributions are too slow to wage a competitive campaign.
The Mobile Register reported Tuesday that Sparks refused to tell the paper where the $500,000 came from, a credible question given that he listed no assets aside from his Montgomery home and no income other than his $79,026 salary as state agriculture commissioner.
and the Birmingham News ...
Sparks didn't help himself in his response to the questions by pointing fingers at other candidates (though not Davis) who have loaned money to their campaigns, too. Certainly, other candidates' financial disclosures need to be scrutinized just like Sparks' disclosures. But that doesn't change the bottom line, which is that Sparks' ethics disclosures don't match what is ringing up at his campaign's cash register.
He needs to amend either his campaign reports or his financial reports so voters can better divine the source of the money. It's the honest thing to do.
Back in November, Ron Sparks told LiA he wished he could give the Alabama Ethics Commission his W-2 forms to show how open his finances are. Perhaps if these newspaper editorial boards made a request, Sparks would share his W-2s to demonstrate that his finances are completely above board.
As most of us know, all income from whatever source must be reported to the IRS, so if we accept these two assumptions:
- Sparks actually loaned his campaign $500k from his personal funds (in other words, the loan was real and the money is in his account, rather than a figment placed on the report)
- Sparks' self-reporting of his assets leads us to believe that he received this $500k recently from some source.
Then it follows that Ron Sparks will have to pay income taxes on that $500K as a gift, although it wouldn't show up until he files 2009 taxes, assuming the gift was made before Jan. 1, 2010.
Also, if he continues to claim that he had the $500k from his own investments, that income should have been reported to the IRS in the past. Someone should ask him to make good on his wish to release his tax documents -- the only way to definitively clear the air. And if the records show that Ron Sparks has amassed $500K by regular saving and careful investment over his lifetime, well that would make the Artur Davis campaign look a little foolish, wouldn't it?
Win, win situation for Sparks, if the money really does reflect a lifetime of careful financial management.