- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 26, 2008

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) | Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Maryland Republican, paid the appropriate taxes on property sales he under-reported or failed to report on disclosure forms but will not release his income-tax returns, an aide said Friday.

Bartlett spokeswoman Lisa Wright said the congressman “paid any required capital-gains taxes on the sales,” and that he will not release the returns because he is under no legal requirement to do so.

The Frederick News-Post reported Sunday that state property records indicate Mr. Bartlett under-reported or failed to report about $1 million in property sales on his federally mandated disclosure forms since 2004.

Mr. Bartlett, 82, has acknowledged the discrepancies and has said the errors are the result of his inattentiveness and confusion by others, including a staff member whom Mr. Bartlett said misread his handwritten notes.

Miss Wright said the staff member mistook the numeral 4 for a 1. The error caused Mr. Bartlett to under-report the selling price of a house in Ijamsville by more than $300,000 on his 2004 disclosure form, the newspaper reported.

The newspaper also said Mr. Bartlett failed to disclose the 2004 sale of a house near Mount Pleasant for $449,000, and the sale in 2006 of a house in Knoxville for $299,900.

Miss Wright said Mr. Bartlett’s congressional staff prepares his personal financial disclosure forms because filing the documents is a requirement for congressmen and congressional candidates. She said Mr. Bartlett’s staff does not prepare his personal income tax returns.

Mr. Bartlett’s Democratic challenger in the 6th District, Jennifer P. Dougherty, said the revelations have made the incumbent’s truthfulness an issue. But she stopped short of demanding that he release his tax returns.

“Once you make the mistake, should you go ahead and try to prove it was just one mistake or multiple mistakes?,” she asked. “I think he does have to make a decision on whether it’s important to prove that.”

She saw no need to release her own income tax returns because their accuracy hasn’t been disputed. The News-Post reported that it found no discrepancies between Miss Dougherty’s personal financial disclosure forms and state property records.

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