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Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and likely Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren have each agreed to release several years of tax returns, but they're sparring over the timing.
Brown's campaign wrote to Warren on Tuesday and said he would on Friday release tax returns that he and his wife had filed for the last six tax years, from 2006 to 2011. The letter accused Warren of trying to conceal "important and potentially revealing information" about her personal finances.
The Warren campaign later responded that the Harvard Law School professor and consumer advocate would release the last four years of her tax returns on Wednesday, but called on Brown to also release his returns the same day.
"Senator Brown has said he would release his returns on Friday afternoon - a typical Washington game of releasing bad news when there is traditionally little news coverage," said Warren spokeswoman Alethea Harney, in a statement.
"Elizabeth thinks we should be more straightforward and make both returns available tomorrow," Harney said.
The Brown campaign did not immediately say whether it would agree to the earlier release, but the Warren campaign made clear it would not release her returns any earlier than Brown was willing to release his.
Warren was willing to release four years of returns, Harney explained, because that covered the period that Warren was in public service. Following the 2008 financial bailout, Warren served as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and later helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Tuesday's exchange was the latest in a series of back-and-forth challenges between Brown and Warren on the issue of tax returns.
Warren had previously said she would release her last two years of tax returns if Brown did the same. When Brown said in a radio interview last week that he would likely be willing to make public more than two years, Warren also said she would consider the possibility of releasing additional years.
The letter Tuesday from Brown campaign manager Jim Barnett contended that Warren was seeking to release more limited information about her personal finances while making it contingent on Brown going first.
"The people of Massachusetts deserve better from their candidates for Senate than the type of political gamesmanship you are engaging in," Barnett wrote.
The letter suggested that by not releasing more than the last two years of her returns, Warren might be trying to conceal income she received from outside legal work, including more than $212,000 she received for assisting the insurance company Travelers in a U.S. Supreme Court case involving victims of asbestos poisoning.
The payments received from Travelers and a legal firm representing the company had previously been disclosed by Warren in federal financial disclosure reports she filed.
In that case, involving a mining company that set up a trust fund for asbestos victims, Warren argued that the company should be protected from future lawsuits because it would prevent similar trusts from being created and make it impossible for all victims to be paid.
Six years of returns would also provide more information about her compensation from Harvard, the letter from Brown's Barnett stated, echoing the campaign's assertion on Monday that Warren's criticism of rising college tuition rates was hypocritical when she was paid $429,981 as a Harvard law professor from 2010 to 2011.
Warren should demonstrate that her support for openness and transparency was "more than sanctimony," Barnett wrote.
Brown earns about $174,000 as a U.S. senator.
This program aired on April 24, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.
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