Senate candidate-in-abeyance Harold Ford didn’t much want to talk about his finances on Meet the Press this morning. Ford, whose spokesman says he requested a leave of absence from his NBC contract “while he travels the state, listens to voters and weighs an opportunity to serve them in the Senate,” told David Gregory that he has no intention of releasing the amount of his Merrill Lynch bonus as long as he isn’t officially a candidate.
MR. GREGORY: But you won’t say how big your bonus was with Merrill?
REP. FORD: I had a contract with Merrill Lynch. They–I had a certain things I–number of things I had to do. I satisfied that, and I was paid. I make no bones about it. New York City, New York state depend heavily on Wall Street. I’m a believer it ought–the system ought to be reformed, but putting a tax on banks at a time at which the recovery is as timid and as fragile as it is–680,000 New Yorkers work in this industry. The importance of the revenue to the city and to the state of New York, I’m, I’m not afraid…
MR. GREGORY: So what…
REP. FORD: …nor am I ashamed to say, if I run for the Senate and I win, I will defend the biggest industry in my state.
MR. GREGORY: So how big was the bonus?
REP. FORD: David, if I run for office, I’ll, I’ll talk about all of those things.
Ford, who thinks all the interest in his finances is political in nature, also appeared to confirm Gawker’s speculation that his various salaries were paid to him in Tennessee in previous years. He told Gregory that he’s paid tax on all New York income in the last two years, but acknowledged that this is his first year filing a return.