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. David

    So, lets see yours Harry. Tell us Harry, how did you come to become so rich on a politicians salary? Inside info like Pelosi / Boxer?

    September 21, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  2. Duh

    Yikes! Lobs stink of fear!!! You know barry is in DEEP trouble!!! Love it!!! See you on Nov 6!:)))))

    September 21, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  3. ItsJo

    Perhaps now, Dirty Harry Reid, will have to look elsewhere to desparage Gov.Romney. Reid is such a hypocrit, as he wanted to see the tax returns and got quiet when "asked to show his own", along with all members of Congress. Perhaps because Reid has four sons who are lobbyists, and he helped his last son gain a contract for China dealings, he wouldn't want THAT to get out to the American public, would he? Also, his crooked land deals, that the Nevada papers wrote about, or that he's used HIS office for monetary gains.....Well Harry- YOU NEED TO SHOW YOUR RECORDS/TAXES TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, YOU HYPOCRIT. MANY DON'T KNOW, BTW, THAT YOU'RE ALSO A MORMON. HOW MUCH HAVE YOU GIVEN IN CHARITY? WE'LL AWAIT YOUR RECORDS.

    September 21, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  4. John

    Please tell us, Harry, how you became a millionaire on a bureaucrat's salary??
    You wanted tax returns and you got them. How about you show us your tax returns?
    Let us see where those millions came from.

    September 21, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Come On! this is so dumb. No matter what romney does they moan and cry. Are any of these people adults and just be a man, or woman, about it? Its so degrading.

    September 21, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  6. Deer hunter

    Reid is a fraud!!! Wake up America.

    September 21, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  7. LRuth

    Reid should be investigated on how he made his $$$ Reid is just another mug thug and thiev

    September 21, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  8. Antoine

    Why don't we ask Mr Reid to show us his tax returns now. I'd like to know how so many lifetime beaurocrats including Harry Reid amass so much wealth in so few years on a politicians salary. Come on Mr. Reid, Mr Romney showed his, now let's see yours. Otherwise shutup and let's talk about the important issues like – How are we going to save America from imploding under a mountain of debt.

    September 21, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. merlinmedic

    And that is why Romney didn't want to release more records: no matter what they show, donations of $4 million in addition to $1.9 million in taxes, it isn't enough for these ... people. Harry owes Romney a real apology, but don't hold your breath Mitt.

    September 21, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  10. ed jones

    Well cnn because you and the rest of the mainstream media will never ask him that question .I guess he gets away with slandering mitt romney and lying about mr romney not paying taxes for 10 years whIle this evidence proves otherwise.And you wonder why the last poll showed 60% of americans do not trust the news and information you provide.

    September 21, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  11. Eugene

    Romney should release ten years of his tax returns and ALL of his college records, IF Obama will do the same. This will shut up Reid and all the rest. They will hide like frightened sheep. Romney, if he has ever played poker should start calling these people and raising the stakes. They will not call and let the American people find out about certain "Foreign Student(s)"

    September 21, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  12. Sharon Y

    I'd like to see how much Harry Reid gave to charity in 2011.

    If anyone needs brownie points to get to heaven, it would most definitely be Harry!

    September 21, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  13. Nick Nichols

    Romney fell for the bait, deserves what he gets. QUIT playing defense. Obama is the WORST President in my 60 years. PERIOD.

    September 21, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |

    Hey Reid.... WHY don't YOU release YOURS??
    Mitt has done nothing wrong. Everything he did is legal. If I could take advantage of tax breaks like he did - I'd do the same! But, I don't have much $$ and I don't complain like you.
    BTW, have YOU given over 4 MILLION dollars to charity last year??
    Thought not.

    September 21, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  15. jim doesky

    Harry Reid was just doing what the democrats have been doing for the last 40 years and that is to lie and demonize the Republicans. It's the ONE thing that Democrats excel in.

    September 21, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  16. airmanc5

    Put up or shut up lowlife Harry, I hear you have never paid taxes

    September 21, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  17. Don

    Reid is an embarrasement to Mormons everywhere. Reid spends more time caring about his job then about helping the American Country fix the big mess we're in. Reid like Obama care too much about the millions they rake in every year to help pay for homes such as Obama's 30 million 1% mansion in Hawaii while Obama's family members walk around impoverished and homeless in this Country and overseas.

    September 21, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  18. Guest

    Again, this shows the absolute sour grapes displayed by the ever-hating leftists. They cannot stand that his tax rate was below 15%. But what they also failed to grasp is the fact that Romney's charitable contributions exceeded $4 million. If they are so obsessed by the tax rate, perhaps they should look to see what was the actual amount of money that Romney did retain after he made his contributions and paid his taxes? Harry Reid is perhaps the only politiican whose soul is so dark, that light cannot escape from it. This is a man whose political life is built on pure hatred. Every bone of his body is built on hatred. I do not know how this man sleeps at night or what his friends actually think of him. They must wonder if Harry makes up lies and accusations about them as well.

    September 21, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  19. chris

    Obama, lets see all your College Records! Just like fast and furious, its just another cover up to pander your 47%.

    September 21, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  20. Ron

    Senator Reid,
    Please provide your two most recent tax returns. What do you know about PriceWaterhouseCoopers that the public should be concerned about?

    September 21, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  21. jmlsmb

    So Romney was right, releasing tax returns would solve nothing, or satisfy the accuser. It's just a diversion from Obama's failed record. Things must be going off the rails when the leader of the Senate has to stoop to the most outrageous lies and accusations to take the heat off his candidate.

    September 21, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  22. Murph

    Huh. I tried to post with an accurate dicription of Harry Reid. You know the guy that tried to sway an election by saying he was told that Mitt Romney had not payed taxes in 10 years. But CNN did not post it.

    September 21, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  23. Tom Ray

    Obama said Romney "took advantage of complex loopholes and tax shelters only available to those at the top."

    Complex loopholes? Tax shelters?

    Obama and Reid controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency for two years.Two years to do anything they wanted. Why would there still be "complex loopholes and tax shelters"?????

    Because complex loopholes and tax shelters are otherwise known as tax incentives for investment and job creation.

    Reid and Obama knew enough economics not to change the tax code. But they assume their voters are too stupid to understand.

    September 21, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  24. Frank Rawlings

    Ask Harry who wrote the tax laws. I will assure you it was not Mitt Romney. All of the conniving laws come out of congress to help them selves so they can continually screw the American public. Mitt Romney used the laws to his advantage just as every American taxpayer can do. Just ask the ones who are receiving the earned income credit even though they paid no taxes and get money from the government.

    September 21, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  25. Voting for Mitt this time...

    I guess being from the gambling state didn't help, Mr. Reid. He called Romney's bluff...and Whoops! Not only did Romney pay taxes but he also donated $4.1M of his income (that is 30% of his income for the mathematically challenged.). Hey Harry - you got to know when to fold 'em...know when to hold 'em... How about a peak at your returns??!!

    September 21, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
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