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. Funny really

    No mention that he donated 4M to charity huh? What's the matter CNN, afraid to tell a neutral story? Only willing to repeat the Dem talking points? That's why your ratings are awful!

    September 21, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. Climp Jones

    Reid as usual is a political clown. His comment of Romney taking advantage of loopholes and tax shelters available to those only at the top as opposed to what? Paying no taxes as those at the 'bottom?'

    September 21, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  3. Jerry

    Harry Reid is a Mormon also. Are his contributions as generous as Gov. Romney's?

    September 21, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  4. jake

    So Harry Reid lied (or made up a "source").

    Obama blames (what a shock, we could start every quote quote with "Obama blames") loopholes, but yet he has never tried to close any of these "loopholes" during his first two years when he had a super majority in Congress.

    By the way, where are Obama's academic transcripts?

    September 21, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  5. Tomas

    Now Harry, lets see your and Nancey's tax returns. I can't wait to see how much you and Nan donated to charity. What percent of taxes did you two pay in capital gains and how did you make with congressional inside information. Any off shore account Harry?

    September 21, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  6. Jackie

    Now we just need to revisit Reids illegal land deals.

    September 21, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  7. Adam

    Conservatives KNEW that whatever he released would NOT be enough, so what will it take? He he is doing ANYTHING illegal, he should be arrested. The IRS would truly jump on him, if he had done anything illegal. "If you give a moose a muffin, he'll want some jam to go with it"

    September 21, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. kh

    He also donated $4.5 million to charity in that one year. How much did Obama give to charity?

    September 21, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  9. Adam


    September 21, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  10. Jessica

    Obama should be talking about his achievements and record in 4 years. (or lack thereof).

    I suggest everyone Google "The Obama You Don't Know" to read an in-depth investigative report on Obama by The Washington Examiner. The mainstream press didn't feel the need to investigate 4 years ago.

    And send to your friends and family, so everyone has some knowledge that doesnt come from talking points, sound bites or political ads.

    September 21, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. SamG

    I can't believe these Democrats talking about loopholes. Obama & Spouse gave thousands of dollars to their daughters to avoid taxes and so many other things. Romney gave to Charity. Add his charity and taxes together then do the math. I would much rather charities utilize the money than the Government getting involved.

    September 21, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  12. repubtodd

    Romney should show his tax returns when obama shows his college transcripts

    September 21, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  13. van

    Typical CNN garbage liberal reporting. Why don't you write a story about how Harry made so much money off investments by manipulating laws in his favor?

    September 21, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  14. R Galutia

    Time to retire Reed – At least Romney has released his tax records...Obama has said candidates should be transparent....I note obamas has spent over a million dollars to keep his birth records and college transcripts hidden... implying there may be problems with them.... he should have released them earlier he wouldn't have had to spend that million on hiding them...but then if there was info that would have kept him out of the white house ????

    September 21, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. M T T

    Harry Reid release all your income taxes also tell everyone how you lie cheat and stole almost all the money you have made. You are the biggest crook in the USA. Your a crook and look forward when you are finally out of there but you will not care because of all the millions you have ripped off on all kinds of deals and votes for yourself. LIE CHEAT STILL IS YOUR MOTO.. Your a good little SOCIALIST.

    September 21, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. hah!

    Reid needs to retire to a quiet pasture somewhere. He's really getting cranky in his old age.

    September 21, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. Harry O

    I'd say it's obvious Harry ran away with something tucked between his legs but he has nothing to tuck.

    September 21, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  18. mensa141

    If they did take advantage of any loopholes they did precisely what we all do: pay the taxes we are supposed to. What kind of crap are they trying to spread and who is stupid enough to listen to any of it?

    September 21, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Case In Point

    Ha! There goes yet another irrelevant, attempted distraction the Democrats and the media wanted from Obama's Economy (like it was hurting Romney, wasn't).

    Turns out, Romney not only paid his taxes but surpassed the requirements.

    Now...where are Obama's sealed school records? If he's so 'smart' (which he really isn't), then what's he hiding?

    Maybe when he's retired in disgrace come this next January, he'll be a bit more forthcoming.

    September 21, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. Ed52

    Whatever rate he paid it was equal to or greater than the amount called for by law. Any anger or distress should be aimed at the congress critters that have social engineered the tax code to allow for "unfair" shares. If the loudmouths ever objectively define "fair share" and persuade congress to adopt that definition then we'll see who pays what. Tax evasion is illegal; tax avoidance is a perfectly legal national sport.

    September 21, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  21. John Connelly

    Any mention of the Chosen one's College records? We know about the evil behavior of Romney while he was in high school. What did the our president do since high school? What were his grades? How did he get into to Columbia and Harvard Law School?

    September 21, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  22. kjaser77

    Harry Reid is a piece of garbage. I am so sick of politicians who avoid discussing the issues by making assinine statements without any proof of wrongdoing. I am not alone in this either. Contrary to political belief, the American public IS paying attention and we are PO'd. If the dems thought 2012 was bad, they aint' seen nothing yet

    September 21, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. Richard

    It seems odd, does it not? Those in support of the President scream for more disclosure from Gov. Romney. All the while, they pay no attention to the money spent and great length this President went through to hide any semblance of a paper trail related to his history. I guess so long as they keep yelling, no one will bother President Obama with any questions about his past. Classic magician's misdirection, and it appears to be working.

    September 21, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  24. Joe Biden

    Reid is a prime example of the rotting mess that is our Goverment.

    September 21, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  25. ReduceGov

    Is Dirty Harry ever going to admit that he is as much a liar as Obama? Naaa. He likes being a liar while calling everyone else what he is.

    September 21, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
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