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. Concerned Patriot

    Why are these Tax Filings _STILL_ an issue?? Shouldn't all of our "paid" elected officials be more concerned about the Unemployment Rate, the devaluation of the U.S.Dollar, and the terrorist attacks in Lybia? Not to mention the growing unrest in the entire Middle East... These seem to be a much higher priority than a few years of tax reports.

    September 21, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  2. Ron A

    Everytime Reid opens his mouth crap comes out. What has he accomplished for the people of the US during his time in office? Remember his telling everyone if a bill wasn't passed there will be no social security plus the military wouldn't get paid?

    September 21, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. eodiraq03

    Let's just ask the High Plains Grifter, Hairy Reed, to show us the records from his land deals. Bet his income tax records are doozies!!! Has anyone seen them? Anyone?

    September 21, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  4. Doug

    Did anyone question Dirty Harry how he managed to get so rich?

    September 21, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  5. muneshadowe

    Mr. Reid, may we see YOUR tax records from the last twenty years to see if the Mob I mean tax wizards went "POOF!" and did some dastardly deed to your returns?

    September 21, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  6. San Diego Steve

    Where are Reid's returns? Did he give $4 million to charity last year? Did he pay more taxes than were due? How many "compassionate" liberals gave 13% of their income to charity last year? I think, very few.

    September 21, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  7. John Sheets

    When Harry releases his tax returns over the last 10-20 years, then he can open his mouth and ask other to do the same. I'm curious to see how a guy who's been in the Senate that long managed on his salary to become a multi-millionaire. Harry?

    September 21, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  8. n

    People on both sides of the political spectrum, Romney must cooperate and show his taxes. Something is not right with his refusal to accommodate the American people. Hate Obama all you want, hell hold him to the fire but Romney, must show us his returns before further consideration for the highest office of this nation. Why, because it's the right thing to do.

    September 21, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  9. ed

    Hey Harry! I believe the correct phrase here is "YOU GOT SERVED"!


    September 21, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  10. David

    If Reid and Cutter were honorable and honest people they would both quit and apologize.

    September 21, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  11. bigbob

    Who created all those loopholes? Harry may have meant them for his friends, but once they are law, anyone can use them.

    September 21, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  12. TJefferson

    Mr. Reid – it is time for you to go. You bear false witness, somehow became a millionaire on a Senate salary.. insider trading much? So put your money where your mouth is a share YOUR tax records from the past 10 years we we can find out exactly how crooked you really are.

    Frankly, you should be impeached for failure to pass a budget for the past three years and for denying valid and House passed legislation from even reaching the Senate floor for a vote. We do not have Kings in the USA. You do not have the right to hold the US hostage because you have the mentality and manners of a spoiled and over-tired 2 year old.

    September 21, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  13. David

    Just goes to show he plays games with the numbers to show only what he wants to show, not the truth. God knows what the last 20 years worth of tax forms really shows. He shows only 2 years, and one of them was manipulated to show other than what he really owed! I want this kind of man as president...NOT.

    September 21, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  14. Chris Gray

    Will someone shove a fist in Reid's mouth. It needs to be closed. The man has no shame.

    September 21, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  15. MsCharley

    Let's see Reid's returns...after all, his net worth is 2.6 million.

    September 21, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  16. S Foone

    It is true. Romney paid no income taxes for a full decade. The proof is right in front of your eyes. From 1948 to 1957 (at the ages of 1 to 10 years old) he paid NOTHING.

    September 21, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  17. MD

    Harry Reid represents the absolute worst in politics. He first makes up the baseless charge that Romney paid no tax for ten years and now claims that Romney uses accounting tricks to avoid paying his Fair Share. I doubt the IRS never looked at his returns to verify their accuracy. His accounting firm has verified that Romney never paid less that 13.66% and as much as 20.2% Federal Tax over the last 20 years. I will not condemn a successful person that paid near $2,000,000 in taxes and donated over $4,000,000 to charity. I don't care what party they belong to. I'll take successful people any day because they pay a lot more that I do..

    September 21, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  18. AmericanHeretic

    Some one please ask Dirty about his earmark for the bridge across the Colorado River to add value to his 160 acres. Ask him about the cool $1.1 million that he walked away with. He calls this smart investing. I call it fraud, deceit and a waste of taxpayer money for self-enrichment.

    September 21, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  19. Georgia

    Harry Reid is a liar! Time to name his "source".

    September 21, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  20. Ron Martin

    These folks are so worried about what Romney does with HIS money, I'm concerned about what they do with taxpayer money. And it is curious how Reid became a millionaire on a senators salary. Why isn't Reid revealing his financials?

    September 21, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  21. HERB

    Harry Reid is right - Mitt didn't pay taxes for 10 years - from the time he was born until age 10. You gotta love Harry!

    September 21, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Ok Harry, let's see how you became so rich on a senator's salary. Oh, the left and their wealthophobia, all while they are raking it in.

    September 21, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  23. Dafishman65

    Ok, Harry lets see your records to show how you became so rich on a senators salary. Oh the left and their wealthophobia, all while they are raking it in.

    September 21, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  24. Woman In California

    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?"

    The idea is for us to NEVER see them so he can continue to suck the life out of his supporters.

    Having said the, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I would vote for Gingrich, Cain or Santorum anyday BEFORE I would EVER vote for this anti-American tax cheat. This guy Willard has far too many issues and he runs with slime and grease, right through those expensive suits and Italian loafers. This country will be truly sorry should he ever sit in the Oval Office and those who vote for him deserve what they get.

    September 21, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  25. harrythehatharris

    When will Reid be out of congress. He appears to useless and offers no solutions only criticisms

    September 21, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
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