Geoff Duncan, a lieutenant governor candidate and former lawmaker representing Forsyth County, debuted a website for “whistleblowers” against his opponent this week while also challenging him to release his tax returns.
On Wednesday morning, Duncan held a news conference at the Georgia Department of Revenue in Atlanta, where he released four tax returns for his years in office, challenged his opponent in the July 24 runoff – state Sen. David Shafer – to release his tax returns for his term in office and introduced the new website.
“I’m well aware that the questions I’m asking David Shafer today are uncomfortable for both him and his supporters,” Duncan said. “I’ve never been concerned with making politicians comfortable. I’ve only been concerned with uncovering truth.”
Duncan served as District 26 state Sen. from 2013 until stepping down last year to focus on the lieutenant governor race.
On Wednesday, he provided those present with copies of his tax returns for 2013-2016.
The returns show a total income of $91,498 for 2013, $198,148 for 2014, $81,531 for 2015 and $262,145 for 2016.
At the conference, Duncan called on Shafer to release his returns for his term, 2002-2018, and said doing so would show “how he’s amassed millions and millions of dollars just being a state Senator.”
“Just the simple, transparent act of releasing his tax returns would give David Shafer the much-needed public opportunity to address the decades-old questions that surround how he’s made his money,” Duncan said.
Officials with Shafer’s campaign could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Duncan also introduced ShaferWhistleblowers.com, which he said would allow users to file anonymous reports of alleged wrongdoing by Shafer.
“The sole intention is to give individuals across the state both a secure and confidential means and platform to share their personal stories about the intimidation, sexual harassment, bullying, bribery, personal or professional threats or unethical or harmful acts directly attributed to David Shafer,” Duncan said.
When asked how anonymous responses would be verified, Duncan said the intent was not to label someone “something they’re not.”
“We will talk about something when it’s 100 percent true,” Duncan said. “We will go through the process. If something smells criminal and corrupt, we will absolutely alert the proper officials to investigate or talk about it. Quite honestly, if something comes in and it looks frivolous, we’re not going to run forward.”
Responding to a question about how Shafer not releasing his returns compared with President Donald Trump not releasing his own during the presidential campaign, Duncan said the scenarios were different.
“We’re not going on a fishing expedition like they did after Donald Trump,” he said. “Nobody really knows what they’re going after … when they talk about Donald Trump’s tax returns, because he’s never been in elected office. There’s never been an allegation that Donald Trump has enriched himself being in elected office.”
The Republican candidate for lieutenant governor will be decided on June 24.
Shafer and Duncan previously faced off in the May 22 primary, where Shafer earned 48.9 percent of votes across the state, Duncan with 26.6 percent and Rick Jeffares, who has since endorsed Shafer, with 24.5 percent. A runoff is required if no candidate earns 50 percent of the vote plus one vote.
The Republican candidate will face off against Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico in November.