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. BrigstockBoy

    Disclose your full returns for the last ten years Harry. Let's see how you acquired your wealth in the public sector...

    September 22, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  2. ac

    Just outlaw the GOP, and save this nation.

    September 22, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  3. Fed Up

    At least he earned the money by not being a parasite on the public's backside. like the lying Harry Reid. So Harry time to fess up, how did you become worth millions while making a bureaucrats salary?

    September 22, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  4. Micoz

    Dirty Harry is too dumb to understand about the "tax havens" Romney invests a little of his money in. Romney actually reported the income and PAID the taxes, even from the so-called "tax havens." That's the only way Dirty Harry even knows about them

    QUESTION: When is a "tax haven" NOT a tax haven?

    ANSWER: When you report the income from them and pay the taxes.

    It is now apparent that Dirty Harry lied repeatedly about Romney's taxes, and he is still lying. It is time for Dirty Harry to produce his secret source or confess his libeous crimes and....come clean.

    September 22, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  5. James

    Time to put up or shut up now Harry Reid. You look like a liar now, prove us wrong. Show us how you became a multimillionaire on your government salary... Show us your taxes, even just the last two years.. You too Pelosi.. Bet you neither will.

    September 22, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  6. Tonyg10

    Harry suppose you release to us the name of your informant, former Bain employee, who told you Romney paid no taxes for10years. This is not another one of your fibs, is it?

    September 22, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  7. Ricardo

    Loopholes? No, those are called laws that you, Mr. Reid, and your cronies in congress passed to line your own pockets and keep you in power. Guess your a little upset that someone in the private sector was smart enough to hire a tax "wizard" to figure out how to use them too? And whole we're on the subject, why should it take a tax wizard to figure out anything in the tax code. What a pompous, disingenuous phony you are.

    September 22, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Those pesky Demowits are going down very soon.................

    September 22, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  9. jonat

    Reid promised to submit his tax returns, where are they?

    September 22, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  10. bflat879

    Let's put aside the fact that Mitt Romney is running for the Presidency, I find it quite disturbing that the Democratic Party has chosen to attack successful people, personally, because those people don't agree with the Democrats? Of course it's Romney, but also the Koch Brothers, who have been bashed on an almost daily basis. Meanwhile we have a dysfunctional Senate that can't even pass a budget, yet their leader feels it's really important to get involved in the Presidential race and lie about the Republican candidate. No Senate Democrat deserves to be re-elected, based on their performance, NONE.

    September 22, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  11. Jerry Patterson

    Harry Reid's response reveals that he is not honest enough to admit that he lied. Of course, he is a well-docujmented liar as are all of the Demoncratic (pun intended) leaders.

    September 22, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  12. Walter

    Reid is a bufoon that lacks any credibility at all. He is pathetic, weak and a complete hypocrite.

    September 22, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  13. ReidBeGone

    Unbelievable! Handsome Harry and the Obama Campaign have just demonstrated why no Republican or Independent should ever make the slightest effort to satisfy their trumped-up charges – the truth means nothing to these people, and the rules of engagement shift constantly and in ways that defy reason and make substantive discussion of the issues facing this country impossible. Harry Reid, you are an embarrassment to this nation. I'm an American, I vote, and I WILL enter a voting booth on Nov 6 and help select Mitt Romney as our next President, also voting for Republicans all the way down the ticket.

    September 22, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  14. Hopey Changey

    Harry Reid- answer did you get so rich? Release your tax records. Romney has done NOTHING illegal. His accountants followed all laws that were written by you and other elected officials. Once again- how did you get so rich?

    September 22, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  15. Keith

    Harry Reid needs to put up or shut up now... Harry needs to release his own tax returns and quit making claims unless he has facts that he can substantiate. If Reid doesn't have proof of his accusations, he needs to apologize and shut up.

    September 22, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  16. Dirty Harry

    Harry Reid has no dignity, no morality, no soul.

    September 22, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  17. FedUpInVegas

    Give it up you senile old gas bag. Find a rocking chair and take a nap.

    September 22, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  18. TCH

    Why aren't they all adamantly demanding Obama unseal his educational records? Or is transparency a selective thing?

    September 22, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  19. Fed up

    I am so sick of the lying democrats and the most stupid man to ever be president of the United States. I wish they would all just go away. why not visit Libya and see what a fine job your smart diplomacy has done. Pathetic losers.

    September 22, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  20. RufusVonDufus

    Harry Reid is a tremendously sad example of a Dem politician. He is a lying snake who has made his money in many illegal nefarious ways. Romney gave $4 million to charity and I'll bet good old "I'm for the little guy" Reid gave zilch same as Pelosi and all of those other nitwit Dem's.

    September 22, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  21. George Barrett

    Harry Reid & Stehanie are the same old socialists wanting no one to be well off due to hard work. They never could make it on their own skills instead feed at the public trough.

    September 22, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  22. Will

    ha ha, ok so he shows his tax returns and the comments are he used complex tax loop holes? Well damn thats funny. Make sure you democrats never use any complex tax loop holes ok. what a bunch of 5 year olds crying cuz his cookie is bigger. Notice they used LEGAL TAX CODES to do his taxes. This is exactly why they didnt want to release it in the first place.

    September 22, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  23. jkimb

    "Reid referred to Romney's returns as completed by 'accounting wizards'"

    SO who completes YOUR tax returns, Senator Reid?

    1. Some dumb cluck?

    2. You, with Turbo Tax?

    3. OR do you pay the more competent tax person you can find, so you can pay as little tax as possible?

    hmmmm...if I had to bet my life, I'd go with #3.

    Do you think we are idiots, Harry?

    September 22, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  24. David Christensen

    I am Obama's employer and I want to see his work schedule for the last 3 one-half years. Why has he not released them and what is he hiding?

    September 22, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  25. Dow Drobish

    Harry Reid is a blathering idiot. If Romney took advantage of any loopholes that are available to the people at the top, it is because the idiots in Congress put these loopholes in the tax system. I can only assume that they plan on using the same loopholes after they are through raping the middle class of the fruits of their labor........ It ain't against the law to use the tax code as written by Reid and the rest of the dinosaurs in Congress.

    VOTE EM ALL OUT!! R, D, AND I's. One term and your done

    September 22, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
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