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. Alex

    Wow, I thought the MSM had forgotten that Dirty Harry had made that statement. I wonder if his imaginary friend is in trouble.

    September 22, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. Panther

    Don't buy a used car from this slime-ball!

    September 22, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  3. Sprdthewrd

    Show us yours Harry ! You probably could not even find it. I don't even want to think about seeing Pelosi's . Vote
    November 6 th to take the Trash out of the White House, the House and the Senate. Tell your friends and mahe it a landslide.

    September 22, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  4. Joe

    Harry Reid needs to be indicted for perjury!!

    September 22, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  5. mpm 62


    Release your taxes.

    September 22, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  6. Tim King

    Accounting wizards? So now he should have a 9th grade intro to math student do his taxes? C'mon Reid you hack. Show your tax returns and let us be the judge.

    September 22, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. Buck Bagaw

    Contrary to popular belief, weasels do bark. Harry and his sons have been enriching themselves through shady deals and corruption for years, yet the union thugs and stupid people in his state keep him in office. Romney has done what is legally required and more regarding diclosure. Reid can't do that and stay out of prison.

    September 22, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. Brandit

    Reid's own tax returns should become a campaign call by whoever opposes him next election. Show your's Harry. How did you become a millionare on a senators pay?

    September 22, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. GI Joe

    I agree with Harry. His connections have access to tax returns.

    September 22, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. strange1

    and there ya matter what Romney does it'll never be enough for the left. So why in the world would he bother.

    September 22, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. JeffG

    I'd like to see Reid's tax reports and how he got so rich on a politicians salary. I would also like to see Obama's college records, tax records, and State Senate records. It seems that Reid like to howl but it only goes one way, and Obama promised transparency but we have never seen it.

    September 22, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  12. bill

    Democrats are such low life trash. God help us if we do not rid our governenmet of this vermin.

    September 22, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. Ron Burgandy

    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."

    Hmm. Checked the tax code and I see nothing that indicates any loopholes or tax shelters that are available to select individuals.

    September 22, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  14. skyhook

    harry reid has red herrings coming out of his eyeballs. he should be a senator from a coastal state. we all knew no matter what was released this would be the response from all the professional b.s.'ers;'ers

    September 22, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  15. Nairb

    So when will Harry be showing us his tax returns? Just wondering.

    September 22, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Speaknup

    Every tax "loophole" was written into law at some point in time. Harry Reid is sounding more and more like a mean-spirited spoiled child.

    September 22, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  17. tim moynihan

    Olde Harry,the original snake,this man should be dragged form his office and you be the judge what should happen.

    September 22, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. Chris

    liar! liar! pants on fire! lol!

    September 22, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  19. Ken

    Isn't it time for Harry Reid to shut his lyin' mouth?

    September 22, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  20. Reidlover

    Reid stop and release your own taxes. You are a public figure, how did you become a millionaire? Let us know and then we can listen to you. Democrats is do as I say not as I do.

    September 22, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  21. Rick

    It's So evil to work, be successful and earn money WELFARE FOR EVERYONE I say!

    September 22, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  22. Scott Pa

    First! Reversible Mittens has yet to truly reveal anything.....

    September 22, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  23. Jason, NYC Law

    I bet Harry Reid got beat-up alot on the playground when he was a kid because he sure is an insecure, whiny, sniveling coward now!

    September 22, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  24. Paul

    What horse manure!...especially from a crooked politician like Harry Reid who doesn't release his own tax returns. People...we gotta wake up and remove these type of politicians from the government...they are stealing us blind. And I mean both Republican and Democrat....I'm a Tea party member and am working on the Republicans who need to be removed....who is working on the Democrats?

    God help the United States of America!

    September 22, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. peters

    The guy has money, uses the laws as best he can and thats a crime? To do anything would just be stupid and stupid people dont have that kind of money. The sad thing is, if you dont like the tax law, vote in people that will reforme it.
    Dont hold your breath though because the same people with money are the ones funding your congress and senate re-election champains and people in office would never bite the hand that feeds them.
    there in is the real crime.

    September 22, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
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