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. victor

    dirty harry is just that "dirty" he can't even get his senate to pass a budget.
    he is impotent like his leader the boy king.

    September 22, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. Nicknar007

    Dirty Harry, show us your Tax Returns you mutt...How did you become a Millionare??????? At least Romney worked in the private sector and EARNED it.... Nevada has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at 12.3% and that is without the people that have dropped out looking for jobs....... How does this Moron keep getting Re-elected

    September 22, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. Larry barket

    Harry Reid is the nastiest senator ever. He is either insane or has a demon in his heart. What an embarrassment to us all.

    September 22, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Daniel Sandahl

    Harry Reid hasn't got a clue. That should say enough about the the democrate base.

    September 22, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. jeff

    Romney should sue Reid for slander. This will shut up most dems of thier lies.

    September 22, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. Brassia

    "complex loopholes and tax shelters only available to those at the top"

    Sure!!! Would be very interesting to find out HOW Obama was able to afford $35 million mansion in Hawaii on his $2.7 million income.

    September 22, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. ann

    IRS must supeanea Reid.

    September 22, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. jim

    Smile harry boy and quit trying to look like your bad,because I know you" and your just an old gutless coward just like you were 50 yrs ago.....

    September 22, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. Rick Caird

    Harry Reid is a pathetic little man. If he is representative of the quality of people in government, we have no chance.

    September 22, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Joyce ryan

    When Obama releases college records maybe Romney will comply with Reids request. Get on with pressing topics like economy!

    September 22, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Backinthesaddle

    Romney just gave them everything that they wanted...MORE than required. It PROVED that Romney had his taxes prepared and paid legally. It also showed that he paid over $4,000,000.00 in charity just last year. This entire exercise illustrates that Obama and the Dems are nothing but sleazy manipulators of public perception and abusers of the public trust. It also further illustrates...yet again... that Harry Reid is a filthy little weasel.

    September 22, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Anonymous

    This just boils down to Libel and Slander. If Holder was not the Attorney Generalissimo, Dirty harry would be in prison by now. Democrats Just cheat at EVERYTHING! letting illegals vote, Letting Deceased vote, Tilt Ballots(al franken) And now not Bring Charges on insider trades(harry reid). Just Disgusting! When Will we return To normal?

    September 22, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Steve

    This just boils down to Libel and Slander. If Holder was not the Attorney Generalissimo, Dirty harry would be in prison by now. Democrats Just cheat at EVERYTHING! letting illegals vote, Letting Deceased vote, Tilt Ballots(al franken) And now not Bring Charges on insider trades(harry reid). Just Disgusting! When Will we return To normal?

    September 22, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Duke of the Northern Woods

    When is this life-long troll of a politician going to release his taxes and explain how he became a multi- millionaire as a "public servant?"

    September 22, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. John

    Here is a good one to do Email or call Harrys office in Washing ton and ask him for his last 10 years of tax returns. 10 thousand should do it! If all media sees this and posts it Harry should be drowned in email

    Pass this around!

    September 22, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. Patrick Geiger

    Dear Dirty Harry,

    Time to show us YOUR returns and help us understand how a peson that lives off the taxpayer dime his whole life can be worth millionsof dollars????

    September 22, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. James

    There's nothing wrong with this country that couldn't be fixed by a few slimeballs like Harry Reid catching a good case of cancer.

    September 22, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. DP

    Harry Reid and President Obama are political opportunists hoping to tarnish an honest man and successful American with disgusting innuendo and lies. The Romney's have created more jobs, paid more in taxes, and have allowed more to realize the American dream of seeing the blessings of the fruit of one's labor that either Harry Reid or Barrack Obama. These other two guys? Well, both have become millionaires by leaching off of power gained through government. They are mooches. They are the real 47%.

    Romney should be commended and then elected President of the United States of America because he is the only one of the two candidates that has actually created wealth, jobs, and opportunity for others. BTW, The Romney's have given more to charity than Harry Reid and Barrack Obama will ever give. While Barrack Obama tries to paint Romney as a greedy capitalist, Romney has shown by action, not just flowery words, what a real giving heart is.

    September 22, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. forrest

    Well Harry, it's time to pony up your tax records. And what's up with that pedastry rumor?

    September 22, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. Markos

    Who wrote those loop hole laws? Senators!! Who is and has been a senator....Reid and Obama. Don't blame people for specifically doing exactly what the senators put into law for people to do. The height of hypocrisy.

    September 22, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Mike Jefferson

    Reid is neither a truth-teller, honest, or ethical (that's the only way I could phrase it and have it pass the cnn editors). His behaviour is outrageous and I call upon the good people of Nevada to recall this person (again bowing to the cnn editors). Somewhere in the desert a sagebrush is missing it's...

    September 22, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. David Ruiz

    I do not care what deduction Romney took as long as they were legal. If you do not like the deductions, change the law and quit complaining.

    Obama's policies have failed and it is time for a change.

    I will vote for Romney and give him a chance to do better.

    September 22, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. MarySue

    These are our enemies – the most adept liars who hate our country and want a system of marxism/communism where the only people with power and money are the rulers (because they won't be leaders, they will be dictators)

    #1 Obama #2 George Soros #3 Harry Reid & Nancy Pelosi #4 Eric Holder #5 mainstream media # Schumer

    September 22, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. Good job republicants

    I would not call it "accounting wizards" for the simple fact that Ronmey's "egonomics" should be siimple. Simple because it only applies to a 1% of the other 53%. A third grader can figure it out.

    September 22, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Shelly

    Being a Senator has made Harry a millionaire. Harry won't say how because he didn't have anything before he was elected. He doesn't show his tax returns.

    September 22, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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