The Democratic nominee for Nevada attorney general has to explain a big tax liability after some old IRS liens emerged in what’s sure to be a heated campaign. 

State Senator Aaron Ford owed more than $185,000 in taxes to the IRS between 2011 and 2014.  But the liens were released in 2016, according to Clark County records. 

Republican opponent, Wes Duncan, is using the old IRS liens to suggest Ford wouldn’t be good at managing the attorney general’s sprawling office. 
Duncan also suggests Ford is a hypocrite for failing to pay his own taxes while voting for tax increases on Nevadans. 

Ford reported on his annual financial disclosure forms in 2014 and 2015 that one of his creditors was the Internal Revenue Service. 

According to documents filed with the county in 2013 and 2014, Ford owed more than $185,000 in personal income taxes from 2010 through 2013. 

The IRS filed three separate tax liens with the Clark County Recorder between 2013 and 2014. According to the tax agency, a lien is a claim against property filed when you don’t pay your tax bill, establishing the government as a priority creditor. 

The IRS filed releases of the tax liens in 2016, which the agency says it does when a debt is fully paid or the IRS accepts a compromise offer. 
Ford was criticized by John Vick, the spokesman for Wes Duncan’s attorney general campaign in a statement that said: “It’s pretty arrogant to raise your neighbors’ taxes when you aren’t even paying your own.” 

Ford’s campaign stressed that he’d repaid the IRS all the money he owed, and is currently debt-free.

In a statement, Ford’s campaign said:

“The recession hit every Nevada family hard, and Aaron’s was no exception. Like many families, Aaron’s had to take a pay cut. And then, one of his sons started college, and later, another was hospitalized. Ford’s family fought through the recession, and though, they paid taxes every year,  not enough was taken out of his paycheck.  

“When it comes to standing up to greedy insurance companies or out of control medical bills, Aaron will be on the front lines fighting for each and every Nevada family because he’s been there.” 

It remains to be seen how much this revelation will hurt Ford in his quest to become the state’s top prosecutor.  Many Nevadans who survived the recession can relate to getting behind on finances. 

But the contrast between an elected official failing to keep current on taxes while voting to raise taxes in the legislature could be used as a potent campaign trail weapon.