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Lamont earned $2.8 million in 2005, tax returns show

HARTFORD, Conn. --U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont released his tax returns for 2005 on Friday and they revealed something most people already knew: He's a rich guy.

The Greenwich businessman's adjusted gross income last year was more than $2.8 million. He paid $621,213 in net federal income taxes and $209,006 in net state income taxes.

The Associated Press asked Lamont and U.S Sen. Joe Lieberman last month to provide five years worth of tax returns. While Lieberman complied, Lamont initially refused, saying he complied with federal election rules by completing a far-reaching federal financial disclosure form.

But after Lieberman questioned Lamont about his refusal during a televised debate and made it a campaign issue in one of his TV ads, Lamont agreed to release his 2005 returns. But Tom Swan, Lamont's campaign manager, said the multimillionaire will not release his tax returns for 2001 through 2004.

"There's absolutely no reason for us to release the other four years. Ned wasn't a public official," said Swan, who was obviously annoyed. He accused Lieberman of playing "gotcha politics" and called the whole issue "B.S."

"Let's get real, people, after you look at this," Swan told reporters, who were not allowed to take copies of the tax returns with them for fear the documents would be posted on the Internet. "Let's look at the real issues."

Lamont is challenging Lieberman in the Aug. 8 Democratic primary.

A new poll released Thursday showed that Lieberman has lost ground to Lamont and is narrowly trailing him for the first time in their race. Lamont had support from 51 percent and Lieberman from 47 percent of likely Democratic voters in the latest Quinnipiac University poll -- a slight Lamont lead given the survey's error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Lieberman's campaign continued its criticism of Lamont on Friday.

"Two weeks later, he's still refusing to release his tax returns and people want to know why," said Marion Steinfels, Lieberman's campaign spokeswoman.

Lamont, who sought an extension with the IRS, filed his 2005 taxes earlier this week. They were submitted as married, but filing separately. The past returns were filed jointly. Swan said Lamont's wife, Annie, managing partner of a $5.9 billion venture capital firm, has confidentiality agreements with her business partners and did not want her information revealed.

The tax returns offer a glimpse into Lamont's life and his political causes. Founder of Lamont Digital Systems, which sells cable television systems to colleges and universities, Lamont and his wife contribute to a family philanthropic foundation. Last year, the foundation contributed $213,750 to 17 charities, schools and organizations.

The list included $50,000 to the Stanford University scholarship fund; $10,000 to the Brookings Institution, an independent research and policy institute; $10,000 each to Lamont's alma maters, Yale and Harvard universities; $10,000 to the Greenwich Country Day School; $10,000 to YMCA; $3,250 to the North Haven Historical Society; and $1,000 to Planned Parenthood of Connecticut

Aside from the contributions from the foundation, Lamont claimed $10,769 in cash charitable contributions. Swan said Lamont has given much more than that, but chose not to claim the deduction on his taxes.

Lamont's state tax return shows he's an art enthusiast. Lamont paid $64,311 in state use taxes on three pieces of art work, including a $1 million piece of art. Lamont's accountant said he believed it was a painting.

Lamont also paid $341 in local property taxes on a $42,777 Mercedes Benz and $12,260 in Social Security taxes for household employees.

While Lamont earns a salary of $546,000 a year from his company, he also has other income sources. For example, he received $1.7 million in capital gains, $275,200 in dividend income and $225,678 in income from investment partnerships.

Lieberman's campaign continued to accuse Lamont of misleading the media about whether he holds between $15,000 and $50,000 direct stock in Halliburton, the Texas-based oil services conglomerate once led by Vice President Dick Cheney.

"Ned Lamont's willingness to mislead the public about the fact that he owns tens of thousands of dollars in Halliburton stock is troubling," Steinfels said.

Lamont said earlier this month that the stock was part of a mutual fund, but his campaign later corrected the statement and said it was part of a managed stock account.

Swan said Friday that Halliburton is no longer part of that account.

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