- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 27, 2008

FREDERICK, Md. | Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett says he didn’t make money off several property sales that he underreported or failed to report on federally mandated financial disclosure forms.

Mr. Bartlett, Maryland Republican, said early Friday that he wouldn’t release personal IRS returns that would show whether he reported income from the sales, but in an interview later that day with the Associated Press, Mr. Bartlett said he lost money on the sales of three properties in question and produced a letter from an accountant supporting the claim.

The letter, signed by Frederick accountant John F. Dallavalle, stated that Mr. Bartlett “lost money in the aggregate” from the sales of the three properties, but did not specify the amount lost.

“I made no money on any of these houses,” said Mr. Bartlett.

He also produced a list of expenses for renovations to the three houses totaling about $737,000 but said he would not release his tax returns because he is not legally required to do so.

The Frederick News-Post reported July 20 that state property records indicate that Mr. Bartlett underreported or failed to report about $1 million in property sales on his financial-disclosure forms since 2004.

Mr. Bartlett has attributed the discrepancies to his inattentiveness and confusion by others, including a staff member who may have misread his handwritten notes.

Bartlett spokeswoman Lisa Wright said Friday that the staff member mistook the numeral 4 in Mr. Bartlett’s notes for a 1. Mr. Bartlett said he doesn’t know exactly what caused the error that led to his underreporting the selling price of a house in Ijamsville by more than $300,000 on his 2004 disclosure form.

The newspaper also reported that Mr. Bartlett failed to disclose the 2004 sale, for $449,000, of a house he built with his son near Mount Pleasant. Mr. Bartlett said there was a mix-up caused in part by the Postal Service’s slowness in assigning an address to the house.

The congressman said his failure to report the 2006 sale of a house in Knoxville for $299,900 was “a stupid omission” on his part.

Mr. Bartlett’s congressional staff prepares his personal financial-disclosure forms because filing the documents is a requirement for congressmen and congressional candidates, he said. He and his wife prepare their own personal income tax returns.

Mr. Bartlett’s Democratic challenger in the 6th District, Jennifer P. Dougherty, said the revelations have made Mr. Bartlett’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 said she sees no need to release her income tax returns because their accuracy hasn’t been questioned. The newspaper reported finding no discrepancies between Miss Dougherty’s personal financial-disclosure forms and state property records.

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