GOP gubernatorial nominee Knute Buehler and his wife, Patty Buehler, earned nearly $1 million in income and paid nearly $250,000 in federal taxes in 2017, according to the couple's tax return.
Buehler's campaign has released their tax returns for 2016-17, delivering on a promise from the primary election. The orthopedic surgeon from Bend edged out two other frontrunners, Sam Carpenter and Greg Wooldridge, to cinch the Republican nomination for governor May 15.
Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, faces Buehler in her bid for re-election to a second term. During the primary campaign, Brown released her and first gentleman Dan Little's tax returns from the past three years. The day of the release, May 3, Democratic Party of Oregon Chairwoman Jeanne Atkins called on GOP candidates to follow Brown's lead. "These Republican candidates have a choice: Follow the lead of fellow Republican Donald Trump or be up front with their financial interests and disclose their tax returns to the public," she said.
Carpenter and Wooldridge both declined requests from the Pamplin/EO Media Group to release their tax returns. Buehler's campaign manager, Rebecca Tweed, said Buehler would consider releasing his if he won the nomination.
Atkins urged Buehler again May 22 to release his tax returns, citing voter interest in potential "conflicts in his personal finances."
The Buehlers' tax returns show they received nearly $300,000 in wages and salary; more than $415,000 from rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations and trusts; and about $250,000 in capital gains. They contributed nearly $36,000 to charity. The contributions went to 35 different organizations, including Oregon Public Broadcasting, the Latino Network and Women's Foundation of Oregon.
In response to Buehler's disclosure of his tax returns, Brown said Tuesday that "voters rightly hold elected officials to high standards and expect us to play by the rules and pay our fair share."
Brown and Little received more than $152,000 in income and paid more than $21,000 in federal taxes in 2017.
All candidates were required to file statements of economic interest with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission by May 5. The statements identify politicians' business interests, sources of income, property holdings and investments, without revealing actual earnings and taxes paid.
Buehler and his wife, an ophthalmic surgeon, receive income from 10 sources, according to Buehler's statement of economic interest. That includes income from performing medical services and real estate income. They have an interest in 13 businesses, including medical, real estate and investment companies and in six properties, four of which are commercial, and two, residential.
The couple lives at a house in Bend with a real market value of nearly $1 million, according to Deschutes County property records. They have investments of $1,000 or more in 74 businesses, including Nike, Nordstrom, oil companies, tech companies and others.
Buehler was elected to represent Bend in the Oregon House of Representatives in 2014. He previously lost to Brown in the statewide race for election as secretary of state in 2012.