Obama ad hits Romney for alleged tax scandal
August 9th, 2012
05:32 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama ad hits Romney for alleged tax scandal

(CNN) - President Barack Obama's re-election campaign continued to hurl charges that Mitt Romney has a questionable tax history, releasing a new ad Thursday that links him to a tax avoidance scandal.

The 30-second ad, "Son of Boss," points to an op-ed published on CNN.com that was written by two tax experts, who claim Romney was involved with the reporting of a $70 million fictional tax loss when he served on the board of Marriott International from 1993 to 1998.

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"During that period," the op-ed states. "Marriott engaged in a series of complex and high-profile maneuvers, including 'Son of Boss,' a notoriously abusive prepackaged tax shelter that investment banks and accounting firms marketed to corporations such as Marriott."

The authors –Peter C. Canellos, former chair of the New York State Bar Association Tax Section and Edward D. Kleinbard, former chief of staff of Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation–wrote that the "Son of Boss" tax shelter marked "perhaps the largest tax avoidance scheme in history" and cost the U.S. "billions in lost corporate tax revenues."

While Romney did not face criminal charges, unlike others linked to the scandal, the authors wrote "his endorsement of this stratagem provides insight into Romney's professional ethics and attitude toward tax compliance obligations."

Responding to the ad, Romney's campaign said Obama's team has "doubled down with another dishonorable and dishonest attack."

"In 2008, candidate Obama said ‘you make a big election about small things’ when you don’t have a record to run on. Since President Obama can’t run on record unemployment, falling incomes, and massive debt, he has decided to run a dirty campaign that is an affront to everything he claims to stand for,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement.

In its new television commercial, the Obama campaign reiterates its call for Romney to release more tax returns and asks, "Isn't it time for Romney to come clean?" The campaign and top Democrats have raised questions about the candidate's reported offshore investments and overseas accounts in countries known as tax havens for Americans.

The Republican candidate, whose estimated worth is valued up to $256 million, has made public his tax return for 2010 and an estimate for 2011, with a pledge to release the full year once the documents are complete. He filed an extension for October.

While Romney says he will not release further taxes than what he has already made public, a majority of Americans disagree with his decision. According to a CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday, 63% of Americans said Romney should release additional tax returns.

Most recently, Romney has played defense against accusations made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who says an unnamed, "credible" source associated with Romney's former private equity firm, Bain Capital, told Reid that Romney went 10 years without paying taxes.

Responding to the allegations, Romney has staunchly denied the claims, even calling on the top Democrat to either "put up or shut up." In the wake of the controversy, Romney firmly said he paid his taxes in full.

"I have paid taxes every year. And a lot of taxes. A lot of taxes," Romney said Friday at a press conference in Nevada. "So Harry is simply wrong."

But that didn't stop Obama's team from pounding Romney again this week over the tax issue. The new ad also points to an ABC News interview, in which he was asked if he's ever paid a tax rate lower than 13.9%, his rate for 2010.

"I haven't calculated that. I'm happy to go back and look," Romney said.

Team Obama said the ad will run in the same states that Romney's bus tour will cross in the coming week, including Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio–all battleground states.

Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    No He pain 3% .

    It's where he invested is what is of concern..
    I don't want a President who profits personally off of others recession !

    August 9, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    I'm more interested in how he got $100 million in an IRA. If he put $5000 a year in, it would take 20,000 years.

    What makes him special? Why is he allowed to put that much tax-free?

    August 9, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. enuff

    Romney has been secretive, artificial, untrustworthy with the release of his personal/professional information. How can he be trusted to do anything different with the american people's best interests?

    August 9, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  4. manhandler1

    So, I'm guessing that he paid lower than the 15% in 2010 for the last ten years, if he paid anything at all. The "put up or shut up" thing applies way more to him than it does to Reid. Just like many things he's said, he never should have said that, because most people feel he's the one that should "put up." Why would he ever think that he could get by without releasing his taxes?
    He's toast no matter what he does now..bring out the butter and the jam....he's toast.

    August 9, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Fine, Romney claims to have paid a lot of money in taxes... Does he have something to back that up? The president has released his returns for many years. Members of the House and Senate have financial disclosures that show just about everything that they make; stocks and other investments, money from speaking just to name a few. How is this any different?

    August 9, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  6. Bart

    We all know he had money offshore in Cayman Islands and on Swiss bank accounts, but did he ever pay taxes on them? How did he get all of his money? Simply attacking Obama does nothing to dispel belief that he is a tax cheat. His favorability will continue to plummet. I feel bad for Republicans because they have to defend him (least until the election is over).

    August 9, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  7. Essie

    SHOW YOUR TAX RETURNS, MITT!!! ...The people that you want to hire you, demands it! If not, then you won't even smell the flowers on the White House lawn, let alone reside there!!!

    August 9, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  8. the confused

    Mitt, Tax Returns?

    August 9, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  9. Craig


    August 10, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  10. Jerry

    Most of us don't rummage through ten years of tax returns to judge if a person is FIT for the presidency. The two years we have show he made a lot of money, paid a legal tax, and donated a lot of money. The left had fun playing "what if" with some of his disclosed (not secret) investments. Cries for more tax returns just seem like an excuse to play devil's advocate again, so perhaps people won't find out how many jobs and wealth he created in the US while he was in the private sector, or be impressed with how he turned the Olympics around, or made a very blue state financially sound again. He may be a little stiff, but he has proven to be a great leader who gets results. That makes him FIT in my mind.

    August 10, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  11. Fred Nerk

    How can the GOP nominate a tax cheating, draft dodger, cult leader, job killing, anti-women, anti-gay, anti-minority money launderer as Commander in Chief and President?

    August 10, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  12. YouCantHandleTheTruth

    $100 million in his IRA? $77,000 tax deduction on a horse? Promoting $70 million in fictional tax losses? I think it keeps getting clearer why our country is in such a financial mess. Now the fox wants the hens to elect him as their leader? It may be time to bring back tarring and feathering.

    August 10, 2012 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  13. RillyKewl

    Romney obviously has lots to hide.
    He's against transparency. Expect lots of secrets…

    August 10, 2012 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  14. hate from the left but mostly lies

    The problem with Romney putting out more tax returns is that Obama & co. will cherry-pick all the parts that could be distorted into scandals and do so promptly. They has already shown great proficency in doing so, and would be only too happy tu churn out ads upon negitive ads about Romney.

    August 10, 2012 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  15. Namepai

    There are so many tax experts to save
    Tax for american, mr. Romney will
    Use it also. We need to increase tax on
    Import tariff,so to force jobs that were
    Sfited to oversea to move back to USA.
    Tax being avoided first time will be taxed
    Second time. Don't depend on honest people
    To pay tax, but depend on trusted system
    To collect tax.

    August 10, 2012 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
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