Millions of Americans have run afoul of the Internal Revenue Service at one time or another. Usually, honest mistakes are involved. Often, the errors amount to a few thousand dollars and are cleared up quickly.
When tax debts are owed by candidates for public office, voters have every right to believe they will be told the full truth about them. That did not happen when Ed FitzGerald, the leading Democrat candidate for governor of Ohio, announced his choice for a running mate.
FitzGerald, of Cuyahoga County, revealed state Sen. Eric Kearney of Cincinnati will be his choice as candidate for lieutenant governor. At the same time, FitzGerald said Kearney and his wife owe the Internal Revenue Service $84,000. Much of the debt appears to be connected to the media company Kearney and his wife own.
Nothing was mentioned about the Kearneys owing money in state back taxes. Journalists later discovered they owe more than $85,000 to the state.
For months, Democrat leaders have criticized state Republican Chairman Matt Borges, who owes about $82,000 to the IRS.
But Borges is not running for lieutenant governor. And as far as is known, he did not hide a tax debt to the state, as the FitzGerald-Kearney campaign did.
Ohioans do not demand perfection in candidates for public office. But they do want candor. Failing that test is not an auspicious start for the FitzGerald-Kearney team.