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. Cogito

    Harry needs to show us all of his back tax returns so we can see how he made his millions in under-the-table real estate deals. Everyone knows it, but the liberal pres ignores it as usual.

    September 21, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  2. Tim J

    Poor little Harry Reid. So envious is he of people wealthier and more successful than him. His lack of popularity reveals itself in his school yard bully behavior. Why is it when someone says "Man-up" he looks confused? I personally would rather hang around succcessful and rich people than perpetually lazy and poor would you, but if you are a liberal, you believe you are better because you pity the poor and hate on the successful. Envy gets you nowhere, effort takes you places.

    September 21, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  3. Rich

    Harry needs to release HIS tax returns and to release the papers on the favorable real estate deal he got, WHILE A SENATOR that made him a millionaire. Harry took advantage of his office to get sweet deals nobody else can get. He also needs to apologize for the lies he stated about Romney paying no taxes for 10 years. It's apparent that Harry was lying.

    September 21, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  4. suehuff

    Typical Harry.......hasn't got a clue. Mr Romney reported his income and paid the required tax. That's not 'fancy accounting' that's following the law. Would Mr. Reid pay more than required? I think NOT! To do that would be fiscally irresponsible to himself and his family. If he does.........the people of Nevada should question his judgement!

    September 21, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. WallyG

    Harry Reid and the rest of the dem entourage, including the drones and robots in the Obama campaign look awfully constipated all the time. Maybe they could use an election enema to clean out the House and Senate and White House of the most useless undigested incompetents left behind from the last century!

    September 21, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. Rob

    I'm sorry, but Harry "Rob us Blind" Reid wouldn't know the truth if it reached up and slapped him in the face. Wonder why he didn't ask Obama to show us his transcripts and all the other paperwork HE has been hiding with the same energy he has been chasing Mr Romney...? Wonder how much Mr Reid has donated to charity? Wonder many millions Mr Reid has made pulling stunts illegal for us regular folk to attempt? And as far as manipulating, I have a feeling Mr Reid has done a LOT more manipulation than Mr Romney ever even dreamed of doing.

    September 21, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  7. Tom

    Mr. Reid, you are poisoning our country. Please go away and let us rebuild our once great nation
    back to what the Founders had in mind.

    September 21, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. Concerned_American

    OK, now let's have Harry Creep explain how he has become a multi-millionaire and can afford to live in an expensive hotel suite in DC when Congress is in session. I seem to remember rumours about some shady land purchases and government paid access roads - anybody know about that?

    September 21, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  9. silver dollar

    Obama says Romney took advantage of loopholes in the tax code.He would be stupid not too.What kind of businessman would pay extra to the govt??Just so the can waste it.Those very loopholes were laws passed by congress and signed by a president.Duh!!!!!!

    September 21, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  10. alan white

    When the president shows us who actually owns his house in Chicago, for his name is not on the tax rolls for it, then we can claim Romney has done something wrong. The country is headed for a fiscal problem that needs to be solved and I will take a guy that is a bad politician over a guy that lies and hides and lets others take the fall anytime. The deaths in the middle east ate on his hands and lets not forget that. They knew before hand and still let it happen and that my friends is the real crime of the last 2 weeks. Not some hidden video or anything else. A movie did not kill the ambassador a weak president did.

    September 21, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  11. Adam

    So he's paid taxes on investment income (so money he's paid tax twice on), and donated 30% of income to charities of his choice. He spent his earned money on what he thinks is best, not what the government tells you is best. That's the miracle of our country that is being destroyed, the government is dictating where your money goes, instead of the individual. Overall, Mitt gave about 43% of his income away in either taxes or charities, and that does not include local sales taxes paid, or property taxes.

    Bet MSNBC is blowing there wad over this, not knowing what to do, taxes are finally released, Mitt gives 43% of his money away, and one of the Big 5 certifies a summary of 20 years of taxes paid. Now where do these losers turn!

    September 21, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  12. megamimi

    Harry, the Court fool, only knows what his liege lord tells him to say. Too bad he cannot check his facts, or confess his errors.

    September 21, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  13. ltnet356

    He gave a higher percentage than both clowns in the white house. Oh, thatks right Biden only gives 400 per year. Why does success scare these people so bad? I want to live in a country where a man and wife pay over 2,000,000 per year in taxes are not HATED for working for their money.

    September 21, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  14. glaw

    cmon harry show us yours..

    September 21, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. snt2

    What a bitter angry little man. We would all like to see your tax returns Harry. Are you so jealous of Mitt Romney that his taxes and charitable contributions total close to 40% of his AGI over a 20 year period? Mitt Romney is an honest and good man with impeccable character. His actions prove that he cares for others. Unlike Obama, who talks and shows no action, Mitt Romney shows action and doesn't like to talk about it.

    September 21, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  16. J Scott

    Romney doesn't release his past tax returns for the same reasons Harry Reid doesn't release his:
    1. It is not required by any U.S. law.
    2. It is not anyone's business to see.
    3. They both take advantage of every deduction and exemption allowed by Federal Tax Codes.
    I would wager that the officers and editors of CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, NYT, WSJ, WP, et all take advantage of all allowable tax reductions too. If they didn't, they would not only be fools, but not considered smart enough to run the corporations (yes. . . I said corporations) they head.

    I would also wager that Romney makes more charitable donations each year than all of these self righteous 'wealth redistributors' combined.

    September 21, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  17. Dudley Doright

    Reid is a rabid liberal who wouldn't know the truth if he met it on the street! It will be great to see him out of the leadership after the election. What a fecal head!

    September 21, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  18. Robert

    I have more desire to know that a candidate is a legal candidate (birth), than I do to know if he has been good at paying low taxes.

    September 21, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  19. Jane

    The point is that these loopholes are legally available. Why shouldn't Gov. Romney take advantage of them, just as many of Barack Obama's wealthy Democratic donors no doubt do? The tax issue is non-story manufactured by the Obama campaign to distract from the dismal record of Mr. Obama. Of course, Mr. Obama's friends in the media are only to happy to carry water for his campaign by running with this non-issue.
    What I would be more concerned about is the number of people in the Obama White House who haven't paid the taxes that they owed.

    September 21, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  20. shelby

    about the money in swiss bank accounts. it's called surplus. Unlike liberals and the govt. he knows how to save money and doesn't keep spending more than he is taking in.......

    September 21, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  21. Tom

    Can't Harry Reid just go away. He is so embarrassing. Romney paid his taxes according to the law. And we still don't have a budget from the Senate. The economy sucks and nobody has a job. Enough of the petty stuff. He paid his taxes and you are completely wrong. Period.

    September 21, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. Grandmom17

    Pray tell me, what good would it do since whatever he releases, his critics would say that he manulipated his returns as they are now doing. Reid says that because that's what he would do if he were in that situation.

    September 21, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. ByeGeorge

    When was Sen Reid ever ego driven narcissist empty suit never having said, written or done anything remarkable...the Senate will be better off without him...make my day Harry...

    September 21, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  24. Brian

    Wonder if Reid and Pelosi will release their returns now? Wonder if Pelosi, Reid and Obama will appologize and say they were wrong about Romney and his taxes? wonders if liberals are ever right about anything or if they are so convinced the ends justify the means that the truth is just not in them?

    September 21, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  25. Tom

    Harry, he paid his taxes. Get over yourself.

    September 21, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
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