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. Emjay Graykat

    *yawn*. It's time to ignore him. He's a pathetic little man. Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country. Maybe CNN will ask Mr. Reid to address that. Then again...

    September 22, 2012 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  2. Ol fashion Republican

    wow, no taxes for over 10 years? Now i understand why he won't show prior tax returns. He won't be getting my vote.

    September 22, 2012 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  3. Jack

    I can not wait for the election. I am hoping to never hear, see, or read about Dingy Harry again.

    September 22, 2012 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  4. Fred Johns

    Where is Harry Reid's tax returns? Isn't he the real problem?

    September 22, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  5. Randall

    I'm finding these so called "leaders" nothing more or less than comical caricatures of men and women. Btw, do we have an authentic b/c yet?

    September 22, 2012 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  6. sanityisrare

    Uh...Harry my boy...I don't think that Price, Waterhouse, Cooper firm is in the habit of cooking books for anybody. You and "sources" should be up for libel and other charges when Romney wins. By the do you explain becoming a multimillionaire over the years on your paltry annual salary ? Don't know who is the bigger Stooge you or Biden...

    September 22, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  7. Sue Tipping

    Candidate Romney has a business background and understands how our tax system works. By mid April 2012 he was required to pay 100% of tax owed to the IRS, regardless of whether his return was extended or not. So by mid April 2012 he knew he paid at least 13% federal income tax and quoted correctly throughout. Reid, on the other hand, has a liberal ax to grind and said that Romney hasn't paid tax in 10 years. Harry lied.
    By the way, the deduction for contributions to charity are limited per tax code for 1040 purposes; the fact that Romney gave over the limited deductible amount is a feather in his cap and a slap in the face to Obama.

    September 22, 2012 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  8. Allouchsit

    Harry Reid is a liar and he knows it. That's why he and Mr Obama get along so well – birds of a feather.

    September 22, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  9. marcusantonious

    Where is your tax return,Harry?Did you accuse Gov.Romney of a crime,manipulating his tax return.Surely,the IRS would be interested in your proof of criminal activity. Show it publicly and end Romneys campaign now,or shut up. How do the good people of Nevada keep putting you in office,you mealy mouth reprobate.

    September 22, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  10. semby

    Cutter and Reid are 2 of the biggest idiots this country has ever seen.

    September 22, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  11. Fred

    This is why politicians are the lowest form of human existence. Romney gives four million dollars to charity last year and over the past 20 years his charitable giving has averaged over 13% and the left still finds fault with him.

    September 22, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  12. Larrybudwiser

    Harry Reid is insane.

    September 22, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  13. Joanne

    It seems that even when caught in lies and baseless accusations, this Administration, from top to bottom, smoothly avoids any responsibility to retract their blatant slander. I would love to see Harry's, and Pelosi's, including here husbands. I am talking tax returns, of course.

    September 22, 2012 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  14. David Hall

    Me thinks that ole Harry " the slimeb ball Reid', got caught in another of his many lies. Having lived in Nevada for many years, Mr Reid is not the favorite person of the state and is rather reviled. from what I have heard from unnamed sources. He certainly got rich very quickly from land deals in a small town and the sale and purchase of the land would certainly be worth more investigation. His taxes should be released for at least 12 years.

    September 22, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  15. rch46

    It's time for Harry to release his 2011 tax return, I want to see how a govt bureaucrat became a millionaire on our dime.

    September 22, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  16. CD

    "Who are you going to believe, me, or your own eyes?" Harry Reid.

    September 22, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  17. Woodman

    The interstate highway speed limit was 55 mph.

    Harry and his congressional buddies raised the speed limit to 70 mph.

    Harry condems Mitt for driving 70 mph. Harry says it's not fair that Mitt can drive 70 mph when most Americans can only drive 65 mph because they can't afford a car that can go 70 mph.

    PS: Harry doesn't drive- he flies on jets that you and I pay for him to fly.

    September 22, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  18. justanotherjoe

    I would like to see Reid's taxes for the past 20 years, please.

    September 22, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  19. Spikebu

    How did you fail to report the charitable contributions? You slam the man for being successful, with no mention of his charitable givings. He paid his "fair share". Would like to slam CNN for being "successful", but I can't. What did you give to charity? May as well put it out there. Freedom of Information and all....Was it 30% of your income? Yeah. You're right. It's government who takes care of the needy. We all need to send more money. The bone through your nose is very distracting. Do your knuckles actually drag the ground? Couldn't resist. It's what you say about me.

    September 22, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  20. Gene

    First it was he's a felon, then he did not pay taxes, not it is he took advantage of loopholes in the tax law. Guess who wrote all the tax laws – Democrats so their wealthy friends would not have to pay taxes. Buffett owes $1 billion and fighting against the IRS over paying, Kerry parks his yacht in a different state to avoid the taxes of his state, and yet no outrage from the LSM over these facts.

    September 22, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  21. Concerned CItizen

    Harry Reid is pathetic!

    September 22, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  22. Confused about all the hubub

    I could care less if he has $80B...Capital Gains is 15%, he paid 13.6%? What's the problem, he donated over $4M to charity...A position every American should strive to gain....

    September 22, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  23. LADY CON

    Time for show and tell, Harry – Mitt showed his – now YOU should show yours, in all fairness... you hypocrite!

    September 22, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  24. Lawrence Boccardi

    I am always astounded thtat this classless lout is the Senate majority leader!

    September 22, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  25. JJ

    Maybe we need Mitt's accounting wizards to fix Obama's catastrophy we call an economy before our kids start working for the Chineese!!

    September 22, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
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