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Did Finneran commit perjury? Democratic AG nominee faces pushback over delinquent taxes

Democratic attorney general candidate Rich Finneran paid delinquent personal property taxes last week, prompting political opponents to question whether he committed perjury after signing the candidate declaration form swearing he had paid all of his taxes to the state of Missouri. 

Candidates must fill out Department of Revenue form 5120, the Candidate’s Affidavit of Tax Payments and Bonding Requirements, at the time of filing. It cites Missouri statute 115.306 RSMO as the legal authority requiring the form and states that it must be signed under the penalty of perjury. 

Missouri law requires candidates to keep up with personal property, income, and municipal taxes to run for office. 

In his February filing, obtained by The Missouri Times, Finneran signed the statement proclaiming he was not “currently aware of any delinquency in the filing or payment of any state income taxes, personal property taxes … I declare under penalties of perjury that I am not aware of any information that would prohibit me from fulfilling any bonding requirements for the office for which I am filing.”

It was reported in the Springfield News-Leader last week that Finneran failed to pay more than $800 in personal property tax for two vehicles and associated fees on his 2019 taxes. Finneran reportedly paid the taxes to St. Louis County Thursday.

This is not the first time a high-profile Missouri politician faced accusations of perjury over financial issues during a campaign. In 2016, Rep. Rob Vescovo was taken to court over $3,000 in delinquent taxes. Vescovo ultimately was forced to pay his delinquent taxes and allowed to remain on the ballot. 

Now, some are demanding Finneran’s withdrawal from the race. Missouri Republican Party Executive Director Jean Evans said the delinquency should disqualify Finneran from the race and accused the candidate of perjury in a statement issued last week.

“Rich Finneran committed perjury when he falsified an affidavit about his delinquent taxes,” Evans said. 

Finneran’s campaign did not respond to a request for an interview. 

Finneran is running against Republican incumbent Eric Schmitt, who was appointed to the position in 2018 following then-Attorney General Josh Hawley’s election to the U.S. Senate

“Rich Finneran either lied to Missourians to get on the ballot or is so grossly incompetent that he is not qualified to be the state’s chief law enforcement official,” Rich Chrismer, a spokesman for Schmitt’s campaign, told The Missouri Times. 

Finneran formerly served as an assistant U.S. attorney in St. Louis and teaches at Washington University while maintaining a private practice. 

According to the latest MEC filing, Finneran had $77,021 on hand. Schmitt reported more than $414,000 in his war chest.