SANTA MARIA - The latest personal tax allegation in the hotly contested race for the 23rd Congressional District comes as polls show a very tight race between incumbent Democrat Lois Capps and Republican challenger Abel Maldonado.
The contest is considered by many political observers as one of the most watched congressional races in the country.
The McClatchy News report cites Maldonado Family income tax returns and related IRS documents showing the Maldonado Family farm claimed a business expense deduction of just over $3,600 dollars for a party held in then-State Senator Abel Maldonado's honor back in 2007.
Maldonado was running for re-election at the time and the McClatchy report says he raised over $35,000 in campaign donations at the same party.
If the party was a campaign-related event, Maldonado could be in violation of failing to report it to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
"This revelation is the most serious tax abuse yet because he is asking the taxpayers to subsidize and pay for his political fundraiser that he raised $35,000", says Capps campaign spokesperson Jeffrey Millman, "so it's a violation of the tax code and its also a violation of the state campaign finance code."
Abel Maldonado issued a statement about the latest revelation involving his personal and family tax problems:
"For all of the dishonest TV ads being run in an effort to distract the central coast's attention away from jobs and the economy, let me make one thing perfectly clear: the IRS isn't suing me, I'm suing the IRS! As has been widely reported already, my family's farming business is currently in the middle of a legitimate dispute and the only thing I am going to say is that when this matter is resolved, I will abide by the findings. It's that simple. The conversation that needs to happen in this race is about how we create jobs, grow the economy and level the playing field with China."
Maldonado and the Republican Party have been equally aggressive in a media campaign against Lois Capps and her failure to report more than $40,000 dollars in rental income over several years on her tax returns that she got from a staff member that was renting a room in Capps' Santa Barbara home.
Lois Capps says when she learned of what she calls an accounting error, she filed amended tax returns and has since paid more than $8,000 in back taxes and fines.
The McClatchy News report says there is a five year statute of limitations on civil violations with the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
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