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Charlie Baker releases tax returns

Urges gubernatorial rivals to release their IRS filings

Charlie Baker.

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/File

Charlie Baker.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker earned an average of nearly $750,000 annually from his work as a venture capitalist and investor in the three years since his last run for governor, according to tax returns his campaign provided.

Most of Baker’s income derived from a limited liability company set up in his name. That money comes from General Catalyst, the Cambridge venture capital firm where he is an “executive in residence.” The company pays him to manage health care companies in which it invests.

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Campaign aides released three years of tax returns to the Globe, hoping to gain an edge on gubernatorial rivals who have not yet gone public with theirs. Baker quickly called on other candidates to do so.

Filing jointly, Baker and his wife donated roughly 10 percent of their income to charity and paid about 30 percent of their adjusted gross income in taxes during that time.

Aides declined to make him available for questions, instead providing a written statement.

“By making my tax returns available, the voters will gain an understanding of my financial interests, the taxes I’ve paid, and my commitment to charitable giving,” Baker said in the statement. “I hope my opponents will follow my lead and do the same.”

Last year was the Swampscott Republican’s most lucrative according to the returns provided by the campaign, his income totaling $864,956. The year before, he earned $813,530. In 2011, he earned $571,459, after joining Cambridge-based General Catalyst in the first few months of that year.

$864,956

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In those three years, a total of $1.3 million came from CBDI Partners LLC. His second-
leading source of income, more than $500,000 in all, is listed as Loomis Sayles Funds, which is a subsidiary of Natixis Global Asset Management, an asset management firm that oversees about $800 billion in scores of funds.

Baker sat on the company’s board, which required him to attend six meetings a year, until earlier this year.

Overall, the majority of Baker’s income flowed from his work with health care companies.

In 2013, Baker earned $150,000 for chairing the board of Oceans Acquisition, a provider of psychiatric care for geriatric patients that is based in Louisiana. He took in a combined $57,000 in 2012 and 2013 for serving on the board of Athenahealth, a Watertown-based health care technology firm.

Baker’s work for General Catalyst became an issue in the campaign this spring when questions arose over whether he complied with pay-to-play laws after General Catalyst directed money from a New Jersey pension fund to a firm that Baker oversees. Months before the pension fund distributed that money, Baker had made a $10,000 political donation to the state party of Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey,

Jim Innocenzi, a Virginia-based Republican strategist, said Baker’s decision to voluntarily disclose his tax returns was probably made to offer him political cover from the lines of attack on his involvement with the New Jersey pension deal.

“He can say, ‘Look, there’s nothing here,’ ” Innocenzi said.

He added, “There’s no way he can say he’s just a working stiff. But he’s not [former governor Mitt] Romney, packing away $5 million a year with $20 million in equity with some company. Voters don’t [care], unless you’ve got something to hide. So he says, ‘Here, I’ve got nothing to hide.’ ”

Neither Baker nor Governor Deval Patrick released their tax returns during their 2010 race.

Baker’s previous financial disclosures this election cycle showed only that he had earnings and investments of “$100,000 or more,” in keeping with legal reporting requirements.

All of the other gubernatorial candidates who have filed similar paperwork report income of “$100,000 or more.”

Baker and his wife, Lauren, donated $212,573 to charity in the previous three years, according to the documents, with checks to organizations including the American Red Cross, the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, Harvard University Basketball, the town of Swampscott, and Mission Continues, a veterans’ support group.

The Bakers’s charitable donations equaled 8 percent of their income in 2013, 9 percent in 2012, and 12 percent in 2011.

They paid 32 percent of their adjusted gross income in taxes last year and 28 percent in both 2011 and 2012.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at Jim.OSullivan@globe.com.
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