No Disclosure?

ABC News headline: "No Disclosure: Presidential Candidates Defy Tradition, Refuse to Release Taxes Since Watergate, Only Clinton Refused to Release Income Information."


One could be forgiven based on that headline and photo for assuming that, say, Barack Obama hasn't released his tax information. But as Mark Kleiman points out, the twelfth (!) graf of the piece mentions that "as the 2008 election draws near, the only top-tier candidate who has committed to releasing his 1040 forms is Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., who already made public the return he filed this year."

I tend to think that financial disclosure for presidential candidates (as opposed to, say, House candidates where I'd really like to know) is relatively unimportant since I think it's safe to assume that at this point in their career these are all people motivated much more by lust for power than by greed. The ins-and-outs of John Edwards' brief career in the financial services industry don't have an obvious relevance to whether or not he'd be a good president unless you take the view (apparently popular in the press) that one shouldn't be allowed to advocate for the interests of poor people without first taking a personal vow of poverty. That said, if you're going to do the story and make a big deal about it, you should do the story properly.