► CA Controller John Chiang’s Refusal to Release Legislator’s W-2 Forms Print E-mail
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CA Controller John Chiang’s Refusal to Release Legislator’s W-2 Forms

Since we all know that California’s so-called public servant legislator’s have been hosing the public via purchasing luxury vehicles of their choosing at public expense for nearly forty (4) years, the question that has yet to be fully addressed is if any of them have ever paid State and Federal Income taxes for personal use of the public’s vehicles and fuel.
On March 16, 2009 I made a public records request to Mr. Chiang’s office asking for copies of W-2s for all state legislators. In his April 14, 2009 response, Mr. Chiang merely offered to provide me with the annual salaries and per diem paid to each legislator. (See BMPDF1, paragraph 4 of page 1 of 2)
This was ridiculous because he knew this information was readily available on the Internet. I then advised him that I had obtained W-2s regarding public officials in Ohio, however, he never responded and has refused to provide the requested W-2s.
The information contained on a W-2 is public information other than an employee’s Social Security number, etc. In late 2003 I filed a complaint with then Ohio State Auditor Betty Montgomery that Ohio Supreme Court Justices, all elected public officials were not paying Federal, State and local income taxes for personal use of publicly funded cars and fuel. Furthermore, I advised Ms. Montgomery that contrary to IRS Rules the justices W-2s failed to disclose said personal income.
On 02/24/04 the State Auditor responded to my complaint. In her letter she states in part:
“The IRS further holds that allowing an employee personal use of a business vehicle constitutes a taxable benefit which must be reported on the annual Wage and Tax Statement [Form W-2) provided to the employee.” (See BMPDF2, paragraph 4 of page 1of 2)
Additionally, I obtained copies of the findings of Senior State Audit Manager Chuck Vollmer, which states in part:
“However, we reviewed the IRS valuation methods summarized by Mr. Palmer to make his calculations and compared them to the provisions contained in IRS Publication 15-B. We found that irregardless of the source of Mr. Palmer’s information, the IRS provisions discussed in the memo do indeed apply to the Court. It appears the logic and methodology behind Mr. Palmer’s calculations is correct, although we could not verify the specific figures he used in these calculations. (See BMPDF3)
As proof positive that a public employee’s W-2 is a public record is the fact that I received copies from the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (ODAS) for several years. In fact, I received them for the Chief Justice, all associate justices, Ohio Auditor Betty Montgomery, Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, and Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. (See BMPD4, 4/12/05 letter from ODAS)
ODAS also provided me with a 2004 breakdown of the “2004 Taxable Fringe Benefits – Court Provided Vehicles & Fuel” for the Chief Justice and association Justices of the Ohio Supreme Court.  (See BMPD4, Page 2)
Of course without public access to the annual W-2s of state legislators, Californians will never know if they ever declared income they derived from personal use of state cars and fuel.
Obviously, Mr. Chiang’s refusal to provide said records is not supported by any California statute. Apparently, in Mr. Chiang’s mind, “sunshine” is not a disinfectant in allowing the public to learn whether their elected officials are actually involved in tax evasion on a State and Federal level.
As a result of Mr. Chiang’s unlawful stance in denying my public records request I filed a public records lawsuit against him in early 2009. A copy of that lawsuit can be found at the URL below.
Public Records lawsuit v California Legislature

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