(CNN) – While Democratic opponents have been pounding Mitt Romney to provide a greater window into his personal finances, a smattering of conservative Republicans have recently joined the chorus calling for the presumptive GOP nominee to release more years of his tax returns.
Former speechwriter to President George W. Bush Matthew Dowd and conservative columnist George Will have joined the new-found conservative refrain.
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On ABC’s This Week Will said that the campaign “must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.”
Dowd, who is also a commentator on ABC’s This Week, agreed.
“There’s obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say, ‘Have at it,’” Dowd said Sunday.
“I do not know why, given that Mitt Romney knew the day that [John] McCain lost in 2008 that he was going to run for president again that he didn’t get all of this out and tidy up some of his offshore accounts and all the rest,” said Will.
Appearing on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” last week, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said he’d go further than the financial disclosures required by law – and further than Romney has gone in releasing his taxes.
So far, Romney has released tax returns from 2010 and promises to provide the following year once prepared. Romney did release an estimate of his 2011 tax returns in April after filing for an extension with the IRS.
Democrats, led by Obama’s campaign, have pushed for Romney to release more years of returns. On Sunday, Bill Kristol had a similar message, saying Romney is “crazy” not to release more tax returns as soon as possible.
"He should release the tax returns tomorrow. It's crazy," Kristol said on "Fox News Sunday." "You gotta release six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two."
Romney, appearing on Fox News, said the Obama campaign wants to “make a mountain” out of the issue and distract from the economic failures of his administration, pointing to prior candidates, like Sen. John McCain, who released only two years of returns in 2008.
Former RNC chairman Michael Steele and Alabama governor Robert Bentley have agreed with the small, but growing gaggle of Republicans urging Romney to action in releasing his taxes.
“If you have things to hide, then maybe you’re doing things wrong,” Bentley said of Romney’s taxes at the National Governor’s Association last week. Bentley later clarified his remarks, saying he was not insinuating that Romney was hiding anything.
The tax debate became a thorn in Romney’s side in January during the Republican primary when fellow presidential contenders called on the former businessman to release more returns as April’s tax filing deadline was fast-approaching.
Former contender Rick Santorum released four years of tax returns as he, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Romney were in a heated primary battle earlier this year. Both have since endorsed Romney and not commented on state of his taxes.
The news media, hungry for transparency, has relentlessly hounded Romney to release his tax returns since the issue arose during the primary.
Romney’s father, George Romney, set the precedent for presidential candidates, releasing 12 years of tax returns during his unsuccessful run for the White House in 1968.