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. rightside

    With envy running down their legs the Obama camp refuses to deal with the real issues as the Middle East continues to burn and the economy continues to tank. A Romney sweep in Nov. the momentum is building.

    September 21, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  2. Brent

    I really wish Harry Ried would release his damn tax returns... 1. I bet 50k to the charity of his choice that his are shady... 2. I bet he used his power in the Senate to make some investments very profitable... At least Romney is a giving man, and doesn't go around patting himself on the back... I wouldn't vote for Obama for Animal Control... How he got elected is almost cult like, very scary... I hope this country corrects itself or a recession is the least of your worries... Here at the Hospital in Nashville, 150 non clinical people were fired due to the Healthcare Act, hospital was fined so to cover the cost people lost jobs... Soon lives could be at stake... Good luck...

    September 21, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  3. Beefeater

    Okay Harry, your turn. If this is all Romney is going to release it's your duty to save the country and show us what you got!

    September 21, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    get a life harry reid and cnn

    September 21, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  5. Namenobama

    My fellow Americans I have so much to say but the most important thing to get across to my brothers and sisters of the greatest nation on earth is this..... If WE do not get this intruder out of our house in November we are DOOMED! Oh please help get him out or not only will we suffer the world suffers!

    September 21, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  6. Tom

    If you don't like the loophole and tax laws, most of these while the Democrat controlled the house and Senate, then change them But this would prevent all of the fat cat donors the Dems have. So this won't happen either. By the way how can a Senator like Reid be worth millions on a public servants salary? Really make me wonder. Maybe he has friend form the Roman Empire of Caesars. Investment is taxed less than earned income. Since it was already taxed once anyway.

    September 21, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    This man should not be in a position of responsibility. He should be MFD.

    September 21, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    So Mitt Romney has money invested overseas, and Barak Obama has a mulitmillion dollar house in Hawaii, pretty goood for a civil servant.

    September 21, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  9. John

    Now can we see the Obama school records? So strange he does not want anyone to see them.

    September 21, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  10. Brodave

    Reid is a small man that barks a lot but is a total coward.

    He lied about Romney's tax returns. Demand that he shows his. The lying coward will just retreat into some dark corner and hide.

    Reid is as worthless and counterproductive as Pelosi. Birds of a feather.

    The sooner they are both out of OUR government the better for America.


    September 21, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  11. Kevin

    Where's your tax return Harry?? How did YOU become a millionaire on a politician's salary??
    You claimed that Mr. Romney didn't pay any taxes over a 10-year period, which has been proven false. Are you going to apologize for your blantant lies, Harry?

    I thought not.

    September 21, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  12. Mark

    You wrote this piece on Reid blasting Romney on his tax returns again, knowing it it is a lie...Did it ever occur to you to ask Mr. Reid...Sir, since you came from the little poor town of Searchlight NV. could you please explain how you became a millionaire on a Senators salary. Is it true you made shady deals for land "shopping centers" with known crooks to gain those millions. Oh well, maybe next time you will hire an old guy like me to ask the hard questions.

    September 21, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  13. Name

    Isn't that what deregulation will lead to... Foggy accounting practices?

    September 21, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  14. daveinboca

    Harry Reid has set a record for being the silliest, stupidest and most meretricious Senate Majority Leader in the history of the Republic. Over 1000 days without voting on a real budget and this skinny freak talks about Romney's tax returns. Reid's own returns are still pending and the freak is going to be dethroned Nov. 6th. Can't wait.

    September 21, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  15. Alan

    He showed you his Harry, now you show him yours.

    September 21, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  16. Cindi Austill

    If Romney took advantage of loopholes, it's the fault of those who wrote the tax code. The loopholes are there for anyone to take advantage of. Problem with that? Get rid of the loopholes and make a fair tax that we all pay!

    September 21, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Harry Reid is not fit to hold office. He should resign.

    September 21, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  18. Hilarious

    Romney was right, you release, they want more. Bottom line is 20% average over last 20 years and voluntarily gave MORE than necessary. Run and tell that Harry!

    September 21, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  19. Mgenette

    Yes sir, those accounting wizards at Pricewaterhouse Coopers sure do know how to manipulate things. Oh, by the way, Harry, where are your returns? We would all like to know how you became a millionaire while serving in the Senate.

    September 21, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  20. Dustie

    Harry Reid: I always thought that he was contentious, but he has shown himself to be dishonest. He is a liar, completely untrustworthy. Vile.
    He just keeps on trying to discredit Romney but discrediting himself instead. A thoroughly disgusting man.

    September 21, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  21. LegalizeReason

    "When will the American people see the returns he filed before he was running for president?"

    It's a straight forward question, Mitt. The American people are waiting for an answer.

    September 21, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  22. Emerson

    Romney released a letter from the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers saying Romney had owed and paid taxes over the last 20 years.

    Romney also released a letter from his dog stating that it asked to ride on top of the station wagon in order to better experience the scenic wonders of our great nation.

    September 21, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  23. Youcancallme crazybut

    All the accusations Reid is making toward Mitt Romney I would like to direct to his hero, Zero. Romney has shown true character when people aren't looking time after time. You probably can't say the same of zero on any one occasion.

    September 21, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  24. Romney or bust (literally)

    Legal loopholes.
    Now, what could Obama be hiding by refusing to release his college transcripts?

    September 21, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  25. rindrind

    wow! this is the best argument from obama camp? nothing will satisfy them..

    September 21, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
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