Providence – Nellie Gorbea, Democratic candidate for Secretary of State released her tax returns for the past five years and many other candidates for state office agreed to do so as well. Her opponent, Guillaume de Ramel, refused to release his.

“I was disappointed to hear that my opponent refused to release his tax returns,” said Gorbea. “I’m sure Rhode Islanders are now wondering: What does he have to hide? Why won’t he just be open about his finances? Rhode Islanders’ trust has been broken too many times. Those of us running for office need to be completely open and accountable about our finances. I strongly encourage my opponent to reconsider his refusal to release his tax returns.”

“A big part of the job of the Secretary of State is making government open and accountable to the public,” Gorbea added. “How can someone fulfill those responsibilities if he is not open and accountable himself?”

In the past, de Ramel has said that candidates for statewide office need to be transparent with the voters. In a golocalprov.com interview with Kate Nagle dated May 31, 2013, in which he criticized former General Assembly member Ed Pacheco – who was then considering running for Secretary of State – regarding his support for the 38 Studios deal, de Ramel said: “Like anyone who’s seeking a statewide position, you’ve got to explain your position clearly on where you stood — or stand — on an issue for the voters for transparency.”

“You can’t say you’re for openness and transparency — and then refuse to be open and transparent with the public about your finances,” said Gorbea.

David Hoffman, de Ramel’s campaign spokesman, said yesterday that he would not release his tax returns “as he jointly files with his wife, who is not a candidate for public office”. But Gorbea’s campaign manger, Rico Vota, pointed out there is a history in Rhode Island of candidates and their spouses making their jointly filed tax returns public, including Treasurer Gina Raimondo and her husband Andrew Moffit in 2011 and, further back, former U.S. Representative Ronald Machtley and his wife in 1990. “It’s troubling that Guillaume de Ramel doesn’t seem to understand that Rhode Islanders deserve openness and transparency from those who seek elected office,” added Vota.

Gorbea was the first of the candidates seeking statewide office this year to release her tax returns, citing the need for “restoring the public trust.” She provided her last five years of returns, which she filed jointly with her husband, Steven L. D’Hondt, a professor at The University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography.