BOSTON — Democrat Edward Markey made public eight years of tax returns on Friday just hours after winning both the endorsement and the considerable political clout of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino as he faces off against Republican Gabriel Gomez in Massachusetts' special U.S. Senate election.
Menino, also a Democrat, made the endorsement official during a campaign event at a Boston union hall.
The mayor credited Markey for being out front on gun control and for securing federal funding for medical research institutions, a key part of the city's economy.
"What he does for his constituents is so, so important," Menino said. "He's there for us all the time."
Markey said he was honored by the endorsement.
Markey, first elected to the House in 1976, has been criticized by Gomez, a political newcomer, for being in office too long. But Menino, the city's longest-serving mayor now in his 20th year in office, joked that longevity should be considered a good thing.
Menino wields a potent political organization that could bolster Markey's get-out-the-vote effort in the June 25 election for the seat formerly held by John Kerry. The mayor's endorsement of Democrat Elizabeth Warren in last year's Senate contest was seen as critical to her victory over then-incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.
Later Friday, Markey's campaign allowed reporters to review copies of his state and federal tax returns. The returns show that virtually all of Markey's income has come from his salary as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
During the period dating back to 2005, Markey reported earning a cumulative $1.2 million. The returns show Markey paid, on average, about 24 percent of his income in federal and state taxes.
In 2012, Markey reported income of $161,443. He paid $32,399 in federal taxes and $7,333 in state taxes.
In his 2012 returns, Markey starting reporting Social Security income for the first time. He received $11,600 in benefits, $9,800 of which was considered taxable. That helped boost his income from the $155,614 he reported in 2011.
Markey filed his tax returns separately from his wife. Susan Blumenthal. The couple owns Markey's childhood home in Malden. They also own a home in Chevy Chase, Maryland
Each of Markey's tax returns includes a home mortgage interest tax deduction. The deduction was $19,074 in 2005 but has steadily declined to $13,863 for 2012. A Markey spokesman said the deduction reflects half the interest on both homes.
Also Friday, Markey attempted to defend himself when asked about a Boston Globe story that said he has missed 40 recent votes in the U.S. House and hasn't cast a vote since May 9. Those missed votes included one on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, which would run from western Canada to Texas. Markey opposes the project.
He said he has been busy campaigning.
"I have been across the state for 150 days into cities and towns talking to voters, talking about the big issues that affect our state, affect our country," he said.
Markey also told reporters he would not resort to name calling after Gomez, a businessman and former Navy Seal, used the term "pond scum" while lashing out at Markey over an online ad in which Markey faulted Gomez for speaking on behalf of a group that criticized President Barack Obama for taking too much credit for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
The ad briefly shows an image of Gomez alongside an image of bin Laden that was taken from a 22-minute video produced by the group that Gomez represented. The Gomez campaign responded with an ad calling Markey "dirty."
"For him to be as dirty and low pond scum to ... put me up next to bin Laden, you've just got to be called what he is," Gomez told a reporter in the clip, which was posted Thursday on YouTube.
"I think a lot of this is an attempt to distract from the big issues," Markey said Friday. "He clearly doesn't want to talk about his support for the NRA's position on assault weapons."
Gomez spent Friday campaigning in Bedford, Marlborough, Westborough, Milford, Hopedale, and Mendon.
Associated Press writer Bob Salsberg contributed to this report.