Reid avoids prior claims, blasts Romney's 'accounting wizards'
September 21st, 2012
06:20 PM ET
2 years ago

Reid avoids prior claims, blasts Romney's 'accounting wizards'

(CNN) – Sen. Harry Reid said nothing of his earlier claims that Mitt Romney had not paid taxes over a ten-year span in a Friday statement joining Democrats in responding to Romney's release of tax-related documents on Friday.

The Nevada Democrat and Senate majority leader called Romney's accounting "galling" and said the documentation "reveals that Mitt Romney manipulated one of the only two years of tax returns he's seen fit to show the American people – and then only to 'conform' with his public statements."

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Meanwhile, President Barack Obama's campaign also released a statement on Friday saying the GOP candidate took advantage of "complex loopholes and tax shelters only available to those at the top."

Over the summer, Reid caused a stir when he claimed a source - who he has not named, but identified as an investor at Romney's former financial firm, Bain Capital - told him the GOP candidate did not pay taxes over a decade, though he did not specify which set of ten years were included in this claim.

In addition to his full 2011 returns, Romney released a letter from the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers saying Romney had owed and paid taxes over the last 20 years. The letter said the average effective rate over that period was 20.2%, and the lowest rate was 13.66%.

Romney has said he was CEO of Bain Capital from 1984 through 1999, when he left to lead the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.

Reid referred to Romney's returns as completed by "accounting wizards" and charged in his Friday statement that the question remains, "what else in those returns has Romney manipulated?

"We already know Romney has money in tax havens in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. What we don't know is why he refuses to be straight with the American people about the choices he's made in his financial life. When will the American people see the returns he filed before he was running for president?" he said in the statement. "Governor Romney is showing us what he does when the public is looking. The true test of his character would be to show what he did when everyone was not looking at his taxes."

Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said in a statement that while Romney's Friday release "continues to mask Romney's true wealth and income from Bain Capital, leaving the American people in the dark about critical details about his finances, it does confirm that he continues to profit from millions of dollars invested overseas.

"These types of investments, the use of tax loopholes, and the resort to foreign blocker corporations enabling him to reduce his U.S. tax obligations, all raise basic and still unanswered question – why does Mitt Romney not just release the full returns, instead of the bare summary he has provided of the last 20 years, so voters can make their own judgments about Mitt Romney's finances?" Cutter continued. "As Mitt Romney's father said, candidates should release several years of returns, because one year could be a fluke. President Obama, Vice President Biden and nearly every other candidate in recent memory has met that test, but Mitt Romney continues to fail it."

Also see:

– Ryan gives House GOP a 'pep talk'

– Defending Romney, McCain cites 2008 campaign trail misspeak

– Romney to ramp up campaign schedule with bus tour

– Pawlenty takes post at Financial Services Roundtable

– Letterman: No hard feelings toward Romney


Filed under: 2012 • Harry Reid • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (399 Responses)
  1. mk1

    Hey, we do not know if Reid is wrong or right, the summary is not proof of anything. For all we know Reid is still correct. If Romney does release his full returns for the last ten years and Reid is proven wrong, then an apology is needed, and only then.

    September 22, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  2. Borderless

    I think it's time Reid is held accountable for the lie about not paying taxes. At the very least he should be censured. Better yet, he should be forced to resign. He is everything that is wrong with politics today.

    September 22, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  3. Conservo

    Harry...
    Get out! Get out now. Just sayin...

    September 22, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  4. SD_Tom

    No comments to this story? Really? Just crickets? Hmmmm. Reid, where are YOUR tax returns? You ARE Senate majority leader...doesn't that deserve scrutiny? Hypocrite.

    September 22, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  5. Jim

    The blatant hypocrisy of Harry Reid and his ilk is galling. Let's see yours, Harry.

    September 22, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  6. David Zaduk

    Maybe Mr. Reid could explain to us who put those tax loopholes into the tax code in the first place, and why are they there. I would also like to know how Mr. Reid has made his millions while drawing a relatively modest wage as a senator?

    September 22, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  7. MikeB

    Prince Harry please tell us how you became a multi-millionaire on a politicians salary. And King O please let us see your college transcripts. I'm more concerned with how my taxes are wasted than how much Romney paid in taxes. Besides, those of us who do pay income taxes utilize as many tax loopholes as we can.

    September 22, 2012 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  8. michael

    I love Harry Reid.

    September 22, 2012 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  9. roxie

    when good ole boy Harry shows us where he got his money, he can belly ache, until then, I betcha, he didn't give $$$$$ to charity!!Or, pay out over %4 M in taxes!!

    With Nevada at 12.1% UNEMPLOYMENT and REPO homes gallore, Harry better watch his own backside. What a jerk.

    September 22, 2012 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  10. Jake

    If he did anything illegal the IRS would be all over him. You were in congress Harry, why didn't you close those loopholes if they are so bad?

    September 22, 2012 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  11. yuwei

    Mr. Reid, where are your returns ? How can you be MILLIONAIRE while away in Washington ?

    September 22, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  12. Romney or bust (literally)

    The best defense is a good offense Harry. But you and Pelosi have some disclosing to do. And how about Obama?
    What possibly could the president be worried about enough to spend money to keep his college transcripts from the American voters?

    September 22, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  13. politics as usual

    Harry Reid is a bitter old man. How does it feel to eat crow, Harry?

    September 22, 2012 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  14. Eric

    Seems to me that Harry should put up or shut up. Let's see them tax returns, Harry!

    September 22, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  15. acdcguy

    Show us your returns..you paid no taxes...Show us your returns..you paid no taxes...Show us your returns..you paid no taxes......."SHOWN"..... you didn't pay enough...you didn't pay enough...you didn't pay enough...... you people crack me up!!!!

    September 22, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  16. Barr. Viag

    Romney,should just go back to business and continue doing what he knows best – making money for himself and family

    September 22, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  17. bb

    Time to show us your college transcripts Mr. President.

    September 22, 2012 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  18. bb

    Time to show the people your college transcripts, Mr. President.

    September 22, 2012 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  19. Kevin

    Unlike Harry Reid, I am much less concerned about what Romney has done with his money than what Obama has done with mine.

    September 22, 2012 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  20. Rod Miller

    Once again, the democrat party and its leaders have egg on their faces. Now if only Obama will reveal what he fears in his college records from Occidental at the beginning. The hit movie, "2016: Obama's America" gets us up to that point and Americans have a right to know. Period.

    September 22, 2012 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  21. Bulldog

    If I were Mr Romney, I would tell Obama I'll release the tax papers when you release your school records

    September 22, 2012 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  22. Anonymous

    I have a friend that says the senile senator from Nevada does not pay taxes. Show us your taxes Harry.

    September 22, 2012 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  23. Snoozinglion

    What a goof Reid is

    September 22, 2012 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
  24. Mark Jessup

    Well, well, well, Mitt Romney releases his tax returns, PROVES that not only did he pay his taxes contrary to Dingy Harry's lies and the other imaginary voices in his head, it demonstrated that Romney gave plenty of his wealth to charity, he actually paid more in taxes than he had to, so when will we see Dingy Harry's tax returns? For that matter when will we see 0bama's college records, his passport file, his Selective Service information, and an explanation for why he has used a Connecticut Social Security Number when the only place he worked was a Honolulu Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor? Time to put up or shut up 'Rats!

    September 22, 2012 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  25. Seraphim Hanisch

    Class envy on parade... What? Are you supposed to be considered virtuous by paying money to the great god Government, rather than to use those loopholes available to wealthy? And besides, that's most likely nonsense anyway. The loopholes are available to anyone, but most of us are not investing or doing certain things to bring those loopholes into play. The man paid 1.9 million in taxes. 4 million in charity. That's 6 mil off the top of his 13-14 mil income. That's a lot of bananas.

    This tax return thing is such a STUPID piece of politics, it really is. If I had that kind of income, I'd use every damn loophole I could to keep it out of the government's hands. I earned it. Not them.

    Show me just one liberal wealthy guy who has written a check for more than they owe in income taxes and sent it to the IRS. Just one. Yes, I know a lot of them say they're not taxed enough... but show me just one who did something about that.

    bet you can't.

    September 22, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
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