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. bkl

    Too bad someone doesn't check into Harry Reid's mental state!

    September 21, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  2. j ryd

    Well how did you make your money Harry? Oh thats right you called it shrewd investing!! Of course there are loopholes at the top. That is why Obama's tax increase on the rich is just bs. Close the loopholes keep the rates the same and all pay a little more. The people of Nevada should be ashamed they voted this dishonest Mr. Peepers back in to office.

    September 21, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  3. Norma Vessels

    I want to see Mitt Romney's tax returns from the years 199 through 2002. The past year's income tax return is of no interest to me. I want to see if he was still Bain's CEO and gaining monies from Bain during the years of 1999 through 2002!

    September 21, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  4. Ray

    Harry goes into the senate of meager means and is now a multi millionaire. How did that happen Harry? What a disgusting human being.

    September 21, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  5. xx

    Mr. Romney doesn't have to prove anything else to me; he has displayed throughout his life that he has integrity and I believe he will be a good President if elected.

    September 21, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  6. Fact

    Romney should just release all of his taxes in question. How bad could his taxes be. There completed, so it should be easy.

    September 21, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  7. oldhardheadnj

    So Sen. Harry Reid and all the news reports by the partisan that parroted, I mean reported his earlier claims were... (how do we say it and still be " lively and courteous"?)... accuracy challenged. Yeah, that's it. "accuracy challenged."

    September 21, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  8. Alvin

    It's ironic to hear Harry Reid talking about the "true test of character". Isn't he the one who said that Romney didn't pay any taxes for 10 years based on information he received from an "anonymous source".? It is a sad time in our country when a man like Reid can make such a baseless accusation without consequence. Harry, lies and deceit will not win this election for Obama even though it probably seems like that is his only chance, please show honor and respect for your position.

    September 21, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  9. Desert Fox

    Harry Reid, sadly is the biggest liar on capital hill. As my father (Who had been a (D) from Woodrow Wilson through JFK and then switched since he couldn't take the LBJ give-a-ways.) stated a few decades ago: "Harry is as crooked as a dog's hind leg.". Back in the 60's and 70's I knew several people who were connected to the Midwest and east coast "Boys" and went to college with Joseph "B". Jr. in Phx. and worked for the bank that loaned the funds to finish The Flamingo in the 40's when the bank CEO also ran the Transamerica Wire Service for the same group. When Harry was a state senator and the Chairman of the Gaming Commission, he was comped for years at all the hotel/casinos controlled by the "Boy's" with chips, women, cash, and drugs. You have heard about the altercations that Harry had with a person who was suppose to be bribing him and then the big battle with Frank Rosenthal when Frank was Black Listed. Those were all orchestrated acts to make Harry look "Lily White", with the last one to really get him cleaned up for his Senate run. You can bet any amount of money you want that Harry is still in the tank with the "Boy's" to protect their interests (Including unions) when needed.

    September 21, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  10. TNmom

    Reid and Cutter will NEVER be happy, no matter what Mitt "releases". They are making themselves absolute fools now, and should be laughed off the stage/podium/talkshow.

    September 21, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  11. cisco4

    Just how do you figure all that Romney income stashed in Swiss and Cayman Islands accounts his USA tax return..??

    September 21, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  12. elizabeth whitemoons

    awww poor dirty ( no offence intended to dirt!) harry it makes him cranky when people see what a do uche he really is.

    September 21, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |

    wrere is reid/s tax returns for the past 10 years.

    September 21, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. Chuck

    So Senator, how much did you donate to charity?

    September 21, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  15. Boetica

    How much money did Harry Reid give to charity, and how did he become so wealthy as a United States Senator making scarcely over $100K/yr? What a weasel/

    September 21, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  16. Welcome_to_Havana

    This wont be a problem for dinggy Harry, The MSM will cover for Harry and not bring the matter up again, But if a Republican Rep had said anything like this. You would have all the MSM coordinating a relentless attack, Apologies or not.

    September 21, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  17. Morris

    If Obama's spokesmen are criticizing the secretiveness of Romney's finances, then I would expect that Obama would willingly open up his scholastic records to similar scrutiny. If Obama won't do even that, then his campaign should shut up abut Romney's redords, financial or otherwise, and the press should challenge Obama at every opportunity about his refusal to be transparent.

    September 21, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  18. RickInNc

    Who cares about Romney's tax returns? All they tell you is that he has money, donates to charities and pays his taxes. Many, many politicians use loopholes and other tax rules to lower their tax burden. Dont we all? But there is no doubt in my mnd that Romney and Paul can help get our economy under control. The Obama regime has shown us that they know how to spend our tax dollars for luxury vacations and dog grooming. Obama said if he hadnt fixed the economy in 3 years then his run would be a one term proposition. We should hold him to that promise.

    September 21, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  19. meadowlands

    Harry has egg on his face Romney paid plenty. How much did old Harry pay?

    September 21, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  20. bill

    Leave harry alone, he was talikin about the first decade of romney's life, it is possible he didnt pay any taxes until long after he was 10 years old. I want his tax returns from those years, so we can backup harry's comments

    September 21, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  21. Margie

    Hey, Harry–how about releasing YOUR tax returns for the the last ten years? How is it that you're now worth MILLIONS on that salary of yours? And you don't take advantage of all those loopholes, too? Maybe we should ask YOUR accounting wizard.

    September 21, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  22. Andy

    Harry Reid.....what a disgusting, crabby, irrelevant old man. Time for him to hit the rocking chair at Shady Acres and get out of our lives!

    September 21, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  23. Ralph Macchio

    There goes Harry "Slimeball" Reid making the Democratic party proud. He lies when he claims to have knowledge of Romney's tax history and then follows up with slimey attacks when he's proven to be a liar. He's the best that the Democratic party can come up with as their Senate leader... it proves that integrity left the party years ago.

    September 21, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. Bryan Hipple

    With regards to Harry Reid demanding that Romney release his tax returns only to have Romney release his tax returns, the rather blunt, yet profound, Simpson's character that bullies poor Bart Simpson comes to mind, you know, the one that says: "HA, HA!"

    September 21, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  25. Louden Swain

    Reid is an angry troll. I will not follow Obama as he leads an into a dark abyss.

    September 21, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
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