There’s been plenty of speculation as to why Mitt Romney has refused to release his back tax returns.
• Do they state he was CEO of Bain Capital after 1999, like Romney claims he was not?
• Do they show Romney participated in IRS amnesty for Swiss bank account tax evaders in 2009?
• Do they show Romney paid less, as a percentage of his income, than the average American bus driver going back years?
Romney has remained steadfast in his refusal to release the returns despite all of these questions.
He says he has released 2010′s return, and an incomplete return for 2011, and that is “more than the law requires.” (The law requires no income tax disclosure). Still, it’s far short of the standard set by his dad (12 years) when George Romney ran for president in 1968.
Now, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid has turned up the heat a few notches. He claims a Bain Capital insider has told him that Romney won’t release the returns because they show he paid NO federal income taxes for 10 years. But Reid won’t reveal the insider’s name, and he also says he’s not sure if the guy is right.
From Huffington Post:
Saying he had “no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy,” Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office.
“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.
“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?
“You guys have said his wealth is $250 million,” Reid went on. “Not a chance in the world. It’s a lot more than that. I mean, you do pretty well if you don’t pay taxes for 10 years when you’re making millions and millions of dollars.”
It’s one thing for a blogger or other pundit to speculate about Romney’s taxes, and quite another for the third-ranking Democrat in the U.S. government make such a charge. Even despite Reid’s apparent cageiness.
We’re now in, “Let’s make the bastard deny it” territory, the infamous game started by Lyndon Johnson, against senate opponent and farmer Coke Stevenson, when Johnson started the rumor the Stevenson slept with his barnyard sows.
It’s pretty dirty stuff. But if Romney doesn’t deny it, the question is only going to crop up more frequently. Reid, too, is going to get a lot of questions about who dished that info.
The question is, will Romney deny it? Or will he try to finesse his way around it? Will he respond that he paid “taxes” (read: not necessarily federal income taxes) every year? His campaign already has sad that.
Or will Romney do what he did with ABC news on Sunday, when they asked him if in prior years he paid less than the 13.9 percent rate he reported in 2010? He said he was “happy to go and look” and then his campaign has stiffed them on the question ever since.
Will he be “happy to go and look” and see if he paid any federal income taxes, then forget the question?
When are we going to see those Romney returns?
From the swing state polls it looks like it matters to voters.