Fort Worth

December 4, 2013

Davis income from law firm increased last year

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, releases income tax records showing that her 2012 income was more than twice what she reported in 2010. Davis is running for governor. The records were released by her campaign.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, a Democratic candidate for governor, enjoyed rising financial success as an attorney last year and took home about $284,000, more than double what she reported making in 2010, according to tax records released by her campaign Tuesday.

The federal filings show the Newby Davis law firm, which she founded with Brian Newby, a former chief of staff to Gov. Rick Perry, is her primary source of income. She reported earning more than $154,000 last year from the partnership, which has multiple public-sector clients.

Davis launched her campaign to replace Perry in October after months of speculation and pleas from Democrats, who haven’t won a statewide office since 1994. She became a national political star after an 11-hour filibuster this summer that temporarily blocked new abortion restrictions in Texas.

Her main Republican rival for governor, state Attorney General Greg Abbott, released his tax returns dating to 2010 in August. He and his wife brought home about $200,000 in 2012, but his filings don’t reflect millions in tax-exempt dollars Abbott still collects from a settlement after a 1984 accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Like Abbott, Davis didn’t report substantial charitable giving. She claimed $950 in charitable deductions in 2012; Abbott claimed $3,014. In 2010, she claimed $2,700 in charitable contributions, or about 2 percent of her reported $131,000 adjusted gross income that year.

Aides to Davis did not immediately comment on the financial report or to questions about whether she planned to release records from previous years.

Abbott hasn’t committed to releasing returns prior to 2010, saying in August that he thought his 2010-12 returns were “a good standard.”

Statewide candidates are not required to make their federal tax filings public. But both Davis and Abbott releasing just three years is, so far, less transparent than the standard set by Perry, who released tax returns dating to the 1990s in campaigns that made him Texas’ longest-serving governor.

Perry isn’t seeking re-election as governor after 14 years in office but hasn’t ruled out another run for the White House in 2016.

Davis is a former Fort Worth City Council member who was first elected to the Texas Senate in 2009. Like all elected legislators, she is paid $7,200 for that job.

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