Reid avoids prior claims, blasts Romney's 'accounting wizards'
September 21st, 2012
06:20 PM ET
9 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. Name

    I'm sure he didn't.

    September 21, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. GuyinVA

    Senator Reid's rant about "accounting wizards" (what most people call accountants) drove him to such an agitated state that he went to his apothecary for a calmative.

    September 21, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. BlueSky

    During the last campaign Pelosi said, "We're going to drain the swamp." Alas...Harry is still here.

    September 21, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. tax payer

    Harry, you and your cohorts put those tax loopholes into the tax law. if you do not like it take them out. oh wait, your donations may dry up and/or you will need to pay taxes. Maybe you should pass a tax law where all members of the government pay the highest tax rate without deductions. He played by your rules and you are complaining. What a major feminine cleansing product you are and the bag it come in.

    September 21, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. Butch Tenaka

    What Harry Reid IS shouts so loudly I can't hear a word he's saying. Romney is honest to a fault and paid $500,000 more in taxes than he was required to in order to keep his word that he paid over 14% in taxes. Note that he also paid $4 million to charity - twice what Obama did. Not that any of this will matter to Harry "Won't-Reveal-My-Own-Taxes" Reid. Hey, I know - why don't we focus on OBAMA'S and REID'S abysmal records for once, instead of getting diverted so easily?

    September 21, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. elmer vold

    harry reid needs to follow the law and pass a budget.
    romney gives away more money to charity than all these hypocrites put together. how the press secretary can look in the mirror defies comprehension

    September 21, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. b.mclane

    Harry Reid is the biggest cog in the wheel. If you want to know why nothing is getting done in Washington its because his desk is piled high with bills passed by the Senate and lie dead on his desk. He refuses to bring anything to vote in the Senate. We must win the Senate to free the nation from this lying troll. ( "Accounting wizards" were used by him to gain $1.5 Million dollars on land he had sold 3 years earlier).

    September 21, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. marytraintrip

    What an angry little man Harry is.

    September 21, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  9. Bobhby Kelley

    So Harry Reid got caught in a lie big time. He thought he could get away with telling lies about Romney. Harry is just an angry little man. He should just keep his mouth.

    September 21, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  10. mike

    So Mitt Romney was accused by Harry Reid of not paying taxes.. Now he is being bashed for paying to much taxes and to much charity? The Sad thing is The Obama mania Media will help the Democrats with this ridiculous assault on Romney to take focus off the whole Libya thing and Obama's failing policies

    September 21, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. Butch Tenaka

    If I recall correctly there are plenty of scandals to be had with both Obama (Tony Rezco crooked land deal) and Harry Reid (questionable land deals in Nevada). Why not look into those, while we're at it? Romney has revealed what is required of him by law, no more than others who remain unchallenged and unquestioned.

    September 21, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. Ann

    "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."

    Really? you spent all your life in Washington.. what was your job? why didn't you look at what wealthy people are doing 'when the public does not look'. You are paid 'to look'. Why don't you give a report to the American people and show how you did your job because you are there on taxpayers' money. Mr. Romney did not receive $1 from taxpayers.You do! If you really know something, prove it. If not, shut up.

    September 21, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Ole slef-loathing Mittens won't show prior year tax returns because it will show that in probably more than one year he was part of the 47% of "victims that don't take personal responcibility for their own lives"! and he paid ZERO in Federal Income Taxes!

    Talk about a disingenuous phony, and a snake-oil salesman of the first order!

    Mittens, you and lyin Ryan are done!

    September 21, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. Kansas

    Harry Reid is an embarrassment.

    September 21, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  15. blindmelonchitlin

    How do those feathers taste Harry?

    September 21, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. margielyle

    Just wondering, Harry, is you know exactly what tax rate you pay; much as I resent the amount I have to fork over to the government I don't know exactly what my tax rate is....

    September 21, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. Yomomma

    I want to see Harry Reid's tax returns. I bet the guy's a skinflint.

    September 21, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. Pendy

    The man follows all the rules, gives 30% of his income to charity, and Dirty Harry is upset. I think it is time for Mr. Reid to reveal who his alleged snitch was/is. BTW, let's have a look at Harry's taxes.

    September 21, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  19. Name JR

    Tax avoidance vs tax evasion. One is not only legal but studied for decades. The other is illegal. Let's audit the public sector unions and their relationship to demo party. What did Shakespeare say "you protest to much". Something like that.

    September 21, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. David

    II want to see Reid and Pelosi's tax returns, along with Obama's college records and a certified birth certificate.

    September 21, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. SLimbo

    Romney – shows his taxes before becoming president. Obama – fabricates a birth certificate 3 years AFTER becoming president. With a fake SS card. Just like his aunt and uncle. There's and old saying "there are no coincidences". Obama sure does have a lot.

    September 21, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  22. Red Walker


    Harry Reid, pleeeeaassszzz give us a break. The IRS statue clearly states that it is "legal to avoid paying taxes and illegal to evade paying taxes". EVERYBODY I know wants the biggest tax return they can get.

    Don't forget, the money we make belongs to us. There is no such thing as "government money". The government "withholds" money and we have the right to get that moeny back based on available tax deductions. You would be a fool NOT top try and get back as much as you can.

    The Romney's are incredibly generous....and kind and great people.

    Harry Reid? Obama? Biden? Pelosi? .... they are disgusting free loaders.

    Galling? I want to vomit all over Harry Reid!

    September 21, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  23. Ron

    Sickening to hear Harry Reid and the Obama campaign try to divert attention from the entire mideast in flames, anti-American protests and the murder of an ambassador and Navy Seals, from the $4/gallon gas to the national debt, etc... to Romney's tax returns. No mention of the millions Romney gave to charity, either.

    September 21, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. Steve Fogtman

    Mr. Reid,
    Eat crow you hollow man and future minority leader if you're lucky.

    September 21, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  25. MAPofFLA

    Does anybody have some spare crow that they can send to Dingy Harry? Leave the feathers on.

    September 21, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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