Waxman charges Romney with secrecy, questions motives
July 12th, 2012
04:26 PM ET
6 years ago

Waxman charges Romney with secrecy, questions motives

(CNN) - Mitt Romney's opposition to Buffett Rule may be "because he's exploiting all of these loopholes" in the tax code, Rep. Henry Waxman charged in a Democratic National Committee conference call on Thursday afternoon.

Waxman launched into Romney for a lack of transparency as Democrats have put the Republican presidential nominee under another wave of pressure to release tax and financial documents.

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"If he's not paying his fair share and he doesn't want other gazillionaires - many of whom are going to be together with him and Vice President Cheney in Wyoming - [they] will continue to avoid their fair share," Waxman said.

Waxman sought to tie what Democrats saw as secrecy employed by former Vice President Dick Cheney to Romney. Cheney hosts a high-dollar fundraiser for Romney on Thursday at his Jackson, Wyoming home.

"Let's not go back to a time - to the years when people acted like they're entitled to keep everything secret, that they're entitled to run the government and the American people are not to be permitted to know what's going on because they know better than the rest of us," Waxman fired.

"This is an elitism. It's a sense that they're better than anybody else - they're entitled to all of the money they have and the rest of us should just grin and bear it because they're the ones in charge," he continued.

Former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri came to Romney's defense on the issue of tax returns earlier on Thursday in a conference call for reporters organized by the Romney campaign.

"This attempt in the White House to shift away from the real issues in the campaigning is getting to the point of being desperate," Talent said. "Going around these 'release his 2010 tax returns, his estimate for 2011,' he will release the rest of it when it's available and he's going to continue talking about the issues that matter to the American people."

Waxman's comments came as Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Romney's limited release of tax and financial documents would be a problem should he arise as a nominee for Senate confirmation.

"He not only couldn't be confirmed as a cabinet secretary, he couldn't be confirmed as dog catcher," Reid charged on Thursday. "As a dog catcher, you'd at least want to get a look at his tax returns."

Waxman echoed Reid's comments, adding on the call that "it's clear that Mitt Romney couldn't even get conformed by the United States Senate if he were being proposed for some cabinet job."

Romney released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate of his 2011 tax year liabilities in January, as well as filed an annual financial disclosure required of presidential candidates.

But Democrats charge that is not enough.

After releasing tax documents, Romney said at a GOP debate in January that "I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more."

Prompted by a reporter's question, Waxman said that President Barack Obama's decision to exert executive privilege over documents relating to the "Fast and Furious" gun-running sting is an very different scenario from that in which Romney finds himself.

"A candidate for president does not have the ability to exert executive privilege," he said. "Governor Romney does not have executive privilege to keep his tax information from the ability of the American people to learn how he's made so much money over the years."

- CNN's Dana Bash and Dana Davidsen contributed to this report

Filed under: Harry Reid • Henry Waxman • Mitt Romney
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. tellin it like it is

    candidates are under no legal requirement to disclose any of this. romney is right to tell them to go pound sand. democrats have nothing to run on after 4 years in the whitehouse, the economy is still in the tank, unemployment is still at record levels and they are out of tricks. so this is the nonsense they revert to. pretty pathetic for people that call themselves leaders.

    July 12, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney has plenty of company...all the top one percent wealthiest Americans. It's just pure unadulterated greed.

    July 12, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. ja

    the offshore accounts (tax havens) should disqualify romney, maybe we should write that in as conditon for president going forward, no patriotism, and he want commander in cheif job , hell no

    July 12, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "candidates are under no legal requirement to disclose any of this. "


    July 12, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. karllinen

    I hope they get results. As we saw with Nixon and Watergate, It's the cover-up, stupid, that'll get you.

    I am curious how you make $250 million or more in a lifetime. That is a lot of work at average American wages, and you would have to be President of the United States over 500 years on the President's salary to earn that much.

    Some people have all the luck.

    July 12, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    Mitt is a tax cheat. It is plain and simple. Watch Bain on YouTube type, when mitt romney came to town, enjoy. This idiot shipped manufacturing to Canada, Mexico, jobs to china, India, phyllipenes etc, true. Obama12.

    July 12, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  7. Montykoolaid

    Economy = Climbing out of said tank that Bush drowned it in after deregulation and stupidity, not to mention two unpaid for wars and tax cuts for rich.

    Unemployment = By the end of Bush we were hemorrhaging thousands of jobs a month. Now you all get your panties in a twist when we ONLY ADD 80,000 jobs in a month. Yeah, its a RECOVERY (even Repubs admit it now, they wuldnt before)

    Lets not forget that I am not a goldfish, I have a memory that lasts longer than 10 seconds, and the last four years I have watched the GOP fight tooth and nail against anything constructive. I have seen them send up "jobs bills" and read through them and found the garbage that caused the dems not to vote on it. Pipeline garbage, tax loopholes for rich, just utter craziness that relies on the average persons apathy.

    You say all we do is blame Bush. OF COURSE WE DO, WE WERE THERE, WE SAW IT HAPPEN.

    July 12, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. DemsRmorons

    Waxman looks like a midget weasel...another liberal hack...

    July 12, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Montykoolaid


    Yeah, well Mitch McConnell looks like if you made a sudden move he would tuck his head/neck into his suit until you offered him a piece of lettuce. He would then slowly and cautiously peek out and start eating it... before attempting to disenfranchise minority voters or cut health benefits for children.

    July 12, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  10. Milton K. Wiah

    @tellin it like it is, you are talking nonsense in this case. Something is wrong with how Romney makes his
    money and how he banks it. He never discovered any product to make him rich nor did he sell anything
    to make money. You know know how he makes his money if you follow this presidential campaign or even the
    gone republican primary.
    One thing Romney does not know is the more he delays to release those tax in question, the more many
    journalists will dig deep into his business practices. His father released 12 years without being asked
    because he wanted to show to the people that he had nothing to hide at the time but the son is the
    If you are a supporter of Romney, you will think it is not important but how about people he wants to
    bring to his side, they will want to know more about this candidate Romney.

    July 12, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. Va native

    Lets be CIVIL HERE, no need for name calling,, we
    Only want the truth that's all!!

    July 12, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. bailouts

    waxman should look into: {first ..as fred sanford would've said, "waxman you're TOO UGLY, pig nose and all " }

    debbie wasser-"i know nothing" schultze's swiss bank holdings

    then you naturally have to go to the clintons in swiss accounts dubai accounts etc. then the kennedy family, pelosi, kerry. i mean come on this diraction is so f dumb because axelrod,doesn't want anyone to look at the

    obama 3 1/2 year run of flushing our way of life, money and stature down the drain..

    July 12, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. Bill

    Just looking at "Rat Face" Waxman, I can never take him seriously. I know that's wrong but it's a fact.

    July 12, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. bailouts

    good observation on looks montykoolaid...ha ha ha... good one.

    July 12, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. Debby

    Waxman is ridiculous if Romney wasn't paying his taxes he could never run for President. All this stuff was vetted out 3 years ago when he first ran.

    July 12, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. Independent For President Obama

    We need to know if Romney has foreign investments that are harming Americans. He wants to be President but is refusing to be honest with us.

    July 12, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. IntelligentDesign

    I have to laugh. Obama almost had to get the doctor that delivered him mom to come and say she gave birth to the doctor that delivered Obama. There were people out there that was ready to say the doctors mom lied about giving birth to him, but Robb me can stash money in multiple tax havens outside the country and its considered patriotic to do so now.

    July 12, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  18. cobra

    It can not be possible there is someone in congress stupider than Waxman.

    July 12, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. cobra

    Why is Waxman still wasting oxygen????

    July 12, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |

    Romney is on a job interview with e citizen's of the United States, for the job of President.
    If some of us do not feel he is being open and honest enough for our us, we simply will not vote for him.

    What WE have done is give him the opportunity.
    What HE has done is squander it.

    Obama 2012

    July 12, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  21. Thomas

    While you at it , look over Issi , Cantor and DeMint !

    Those guys made a bundle on the war's .

    July 12, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. An actual taxpayer

    The off shore accounts "benefits" have been debunked by several independent fact checkers. He doesn't have billions sitting in a savings account in the Caymans. Some of the funds he invests in are stationed off shore, just like Wasserman-Schultz and Pelosi so they can attract foregn investment because the USA has some of the most draconian corporate taxes of the industrilaized world. Just like my Roth IRA and my government run Thrift Savings Plan have money parked there. Mitt Romney didn't ship jobs over seas. Bain has had far more success stories than failures. 'Staples' among them. I've no interest to see his tax returns. The only people who SHOULD be required to disclose them are sitting politicians. Have to keep them honest.

    July 12, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  23. Just the FACTS please......

    Got your calculators handy? Let's see what "greedy" Mitt has done..........
    • Volunteer campaign worker for his dad's gubernatorial campaign 1 year.
    • Unpaid intern in Governor's office 8 years.
    • Mormon missionary in Paris 2 years.
    • Unpaid bishop and state president for his church 10 years.
    • Took no salary as president of the Salt Lake Olympics 3 years.
    • No salary as MA governor 4 years.
    • Gave his ENTIRE INHERITANCE to charity.
    • That's a grand total of 28 years of unpaid service to his country, his community and his church. Why? Because that's the kind of man Mitt Romney is. This is at odds with the media/dems slant on Mitt. The facts are sooo inconvienent!

    Oh, and Waxman looks like a goblin!

    July 12, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. bum

    Easy fix. Flat tax, no loopholes, major reduction in IRS. And it's not greed that got him where he is, he's very generous, it's hard work and the willingness to take a risk that makes a business man/woman successful.

    July 12, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  25. gate

    Imagine for 10 seconds the seizures that Fox News pundits and Republicans would go into if Obama refused to release his taxes. It would be a meltdown that would put Chernobyl to shame and everyone knows it.

    July 12, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
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