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. Khamron

    Why is it somehow wrong to NOT pay more taxes than the law exacts? Who wrote the laws, Mr. Reid...wasn't it Congress? It's totally appropriate to use every deduction the lawmakers created. When did being wealthy become shameful? No poor man has ever hired me. I am a small business owner and I want to grow my business to the point where I hire many others and I will use accountants (yes, I'll HIRE one) to save as much on confiscatory taxes as possible.

    September 22, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. J K.McCarthy

    This is another double standard. Senator Reid hasnt produced a tax return in over ten years. How did he become a millionaire living at the Ritz Carlton in Washington. I know he is a dedicated civil servant. I wonder how many tax shelters that Warren Buffet has utilized. We have a country that is fiscally on the cliff and foreign policy wise looked upon as weak. Yet we are worried about tax returns and charitable donations. When is the President going to be held accountable? When are we going to pass a budget? When are we going to reduce our debt? The President cant even be truthful with Univison about Immigration reform. No introduction of a bill but it is the Republicans fault.

    September 22, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. just_facts

    Harry Reid makes no sense at all. He is accusing Romney of filing correct tax returns, of adhering to tax laws that Congress wrote. If Reid doesn't like the loopholes, then he can work to change the tax code the way Ryan would like it changed.
    Also, he owes Romney an apology for falsely accusing him of not paying taxes.

    September 22, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Ken

    Show us your tax returns Mr Reid, dont be pointing fingers with dirty hands.. Reid is a idiot, a yahoo, a liar and just plain mean.

    September 22, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. WW5

    Wrong again dingy harry – the swiss account is closed. any more false info you need to spew?

    September 22, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. flounderaz

    Harry Reid was speaking in demspeak. Another example would be Nancy Peolsi saying that Obama has been to israel over and over. Obama has never been to Israel.

    September 22, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. John Sm,ith

    Harry, the little Weasel. is a coward through and through and he will not show his dirty tax returns to you.

    September 22, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. dick sicario

    Well harry time to show yours.

    September 22, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. DisgustedInNevada

    Harry Reid is a lying corrupt crook politician.

    September 22, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. Bobby B

    Ok, now time to see Obama's financial aid papers from college, the passport he traveled to Pakistan on.

    September 22, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. atest

    Reid – How much lie would you keeping telling ? You are ruining the reputation of democratic party.

    September 22, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  12. The Elephant in the Room

    Romney and Ryan want to change tax structure which would allow some people to legally pay NO TAXES. Shouldn`t we know if Romney`s history reveals that he`d have a CONFLICT OF INTEREST depending on what tax reforms he advances / would sign as president?

    We are hardly being unreasonable.

    September 22, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  13. Liz

    To Harry Reid put up or shut up. And where are the democrats to criticize Pres. Obama who parties with the rich, while the middle east burns, and 4 or more Americans are killed. Our President is more interested in being a rapper. What a disgrace.

    September 22, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  14. intune

    Come on Harry..why don't you back up your big mouth and show us your proof that Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years. Only a little man throws around serious accusations and then crawls under a rock when asked for proof.

    September 22, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. Randy

    Ask about Obama's school records

    September 22, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  16. NoBama Soon

    Oddly, I don't remember all of this focus on money when the incredibly rich John Kerry was running...... funny how that works with Dems, isn't it? Show us your returns, Harry. Show us you college papers, BO, the ones you have spent millions hiding.

    September 22, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    Reid is a total fraud. Where are HIS tax returns? What about that airport he had built, to allow him to fly home with ease, from Washington, on the taxpayer's nickle???? They finally had to shut it down as government waste!

    September 22, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. fwduptimeman

    Reid the loudmouth had a lot to say about Romney taxes.
    After all the ranting and raving Reid did I am NOT surprised the Reid man refuses to man up and release his tax returns.
    Reid came to the Senate poor and has made himself a millionaire. Gee rumors of massive land deals abound.
    If he was a Repub you MSMedia types would have a JIHAD to find out the dirt. BUT since he's a Dem y'all are in full scale cover up protective mode.
    I would remind y'all about journalistic professionalism BUT y'all are way beyond that these days. Most are operatives in the "O"mans campaign to change America into O's image of a Progressive Nirvana on earth.
    Turns out this Nirvana has already run out of $ due to his excessive spending. Sure didn't take long did it?

    September 22, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. Mike

    Come on reid, why don't you show and tell us all how you became a multi millionaire on a senators salary.

    September 22, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. DaveATL

    I can agree that maybe Romney took advatage of tax`loopholes, etc. But...isn't Congress and the Senate responsible for makig the tax code. And haven't people (like the Tea Party) been screaming for a more fair tax code like flat tax and fair tax.
    And didn't the Dems have a super majority for at least four years before 2010 and did nothing about the tax code? This is proof positive that its the Dems who are catering to the rich by complainig about the rich getting richer and doing nothing to make it more fair. Without changing the tax code redistribution can't happen. Wahe p, people! Obama can't do what he claiss he wants to do without changing the tax code and he has not even made a gestuere to do that. Thes guys are sick in their hypocrisy.

    September 22, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. John Hasley

    It's interesting that Senator Reid is complaining about Gov. Romney's following the tax laws. Which one of these two has been in a position to change the tax laws if he believes there is something wrong with them? (Hint: it's not the one who is talking about eliminating tax loopholes if he is elected President.)

    September 22, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. Thomas Collins

    This man is senile

    September 22, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. BobVediar

    If Romney had been a private citizen instead of a public figure, he could probably prevail against Reid in a case charging Reid with libel. But wait... no... Reid made his scurrilous claims from the well of the Senate, didn't he? Where he has SUPERPROTECTION and can literally say anything he wants and not experience a single negative consequence. The word "coward" doesn't even come close.

    September 22, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. Mark

    So Harry Reid is galled by an unemployed man paying $2 million in taxes. Wow Harry, why don't you just get a gun and go rob the man. Oh, that's right you hate guns and success.

    By the way Harry, you have been a public servant all your life and never held a real job, um how did you become a millionaire? How about we get a peak at your tax returns and see what your accountant has been up too. I mean I can understand Romney becoming wealthy, I mean he saved Staples and Baskin Robins and companies like them from bankruptcy he did something worthy of getting paid. You however have never done anything but run your mouth. I heard you got a sweet heart deal on some real estate from a criminal just like your boy Obama did.

    You are both liars and have no credibility whatsoever.

    September 22, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. Julie

    Stick a sock in it, Reid!!! No one wants to hear your psycho babble anymore! You're a disgrace to America!

    September 22, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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