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."

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

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. Lin Bay

    " Let's see Harry's Tax returns, and Pelosi's"

    September 21, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  2. american

    all this over past TAX RETURNS and obama WILL NEVER release his college records. who is hiding something now???

    September 21, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  3. Dculton

    Harry did what the Dumbacrats alway do....they lie. When they get caught they come out with another lie to avoid the lie they they told in the first place.

    Pretty pathetic but the 47% seem to be stupid enought to be played over and over again!

    September 22, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  4. TIRM

    It is these responses by Obama and Reid which are exactly why Romney has been reluctant to release taxes. Romney could have paid 100% in taxes and they would find something to attack.

    September 22, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  5. kmr

    so in response to harry reid being proven a liar, he ignores that and makes up a new lie.

    stay classy, harry.

    September 22, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  6. lcky9

    the left is SOOOO pathetic .. even educated people on the left are embarrassed by the comments coming out of the W.H...I am SURE that NO ONE one the LEFT uses LOOP HOLES.. right??? OH that's right they just DON'T PAY their taxes unless they get caught like Guthner and Wrangle..

    September 22, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  7. Dculton

    I like Harry's manipulation part. Harry, the "manipulation" was an intentional overpayment of $500,000 in taxes. Lets have a look and see what "manipulations" we can find it yours.

    September 22, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  8. Dimocrats Suck Hind-end

    Why doesn't obama release his school records. He won't. They run contrary to everything he now says about himself.

    September 22, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  9. Iderhonativ

    It would make no difference if Romney released every tax return from 1984 through 2011 and the libs will find something to whine About. Capitulation does not suit their purpose. It is all about the allegations, not the facts. Remember when that filthy weasel Reid said " the charges are so serious they need to be investigated." So in other words He can make any outlandish charge he wants and then it is up to his victim to prove the Gustapo agent wrong, And as you can see, if you do, they accuse you of fabricating the proof. There is no winning. Romney should have never entered this whirlwind of BS,

    September 22, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  10. TEA Runner

    Classy, Harry, time to man up and apologize for your unfounded lies.

    September 22, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  11. three rivers

    if those loopholes are legal Hussein he has the right to use them..I'm sure your men who do your taxes use them lets drop this phony horse crap...and as for Harry Reid he need to remain silent until he posts where he banks and hides his money...Joe Wilson stood up in Congress and said 'YOU LIE' and he was right, we are learning a lot of lies you are giving us Hussein and we will no longer tolerate you and your term will end Jan. 20,2013 and as for Harry Reid...Joe Wilson need to shake his botties as well and tell us ......HARRY ...YOU LIE...

    September 22, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  12. Phil

    Reid and Pelosi are fools and are the poison that kills American Democracy and healthy politics! They are made for each other! Just not in this, STILL great country!

    September 22, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  13. Blurtle

    Nice balance, CNN, two paragraphs on Reid's lying accusations that are now disproved, and eight grafs on more charges against Romney. When are you going to demand Reid back up his statements? You could take a lesson from Univision.

    September 22, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  14. Lazybum

    The only thing more pathetic than Harry Reed are the Nevadans that voted for him.

    September 22, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  15. smartaleck

    Taxer! Silly racist taxer! Down with the taxers! (ok it doesn't ring like "birther" but this guy is no less a clown)

    September 22, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  16. matinva

    Reid is a coward and a fraud, in my opinion. One has to wonder how Reid became a Millionaire as a public servant. We know how Romney made his money. How did Reid manage to make so much more money than his Senate salary?? I think he should release HIS tax returns and be investigated.

    September 22, 2012 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  17. Kirk

    Wow, CNN reports all these details of accusations and opinions of Romney's opponents, yet never examines how the 14% tax rate is derived. Romney's income comes from capital gains and dividends, which means for him to receive $14M in personal income, he already paid $7M at the corporate level. If his income and taxes were reported as a business owner instead of this false dichotomy of hidng away the taxes already paid at the corporate level, we would see that of $21M in corporate profits, Romney paid $9M in corporate + personal income taxes. That's a 43% effective tax rate on that business income.

    September 22, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  18. Musicman

    Wow, these demorats are nasty people man. This guy pays millions in taxes, donates millions to charities, and these sickos still lie, spin, whine like babies. Romney earned his money fair and square. He paid the taxes he was LEGALLY obliged to. End of story. Hey Harry, what are YOU hiding, show your taxes fool. Same goes for Pelosi...

    September 22, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  19. eavesdrop

    Normally the pages are awash with so called Romney supporters, defending and making excuses!
    Where are they now?
    The silence is deafening!!

    September 22, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  20. Mary in VA

    Such a sad little man- Reid can't even admit his lies and when he is faced with FACTS- the only thing he can do is spin more lies and false speculation. There is a special place in H3ll for people like Harry Reid

    September 22, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  21. Donkey Party

    If Romney hadn't tinkered with his 2011 tax returns to try and show he paid more than 13%, his tax rate would have been 9%. There is every reason to believe that Romney had years where he paid 0%, but he's a serial liar and tax dodger, and we won't know until he releases a decade of tax returns.

    September 22, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  22. Independent Voter

    I guess Harry Reid needs to show his tax returns now. Be careful what you wish for, Harry.

    September 22, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  23. kenny

    Mitt Romney is not fit to be a President, he flip flop, he lied, and he's not straight forward with his taxes. I weep for Republican party

    September 22, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  24. hyrdr

    Harry Reid needs to go jump in the lake.

    September 22, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  25. Sean

    OMG... first Reid says Romney didn't file taxes. Now Reid says Romney did something wrong by hiring PriceWaterhouseCoopers? Here's something hilarious: PWC does tons... TONS... of work for local, state and federal govts and agencies all over the country. And maybe if Congress didn't make the tax code so freakin' complex, people wouldn't need to hire giant accounting firms just to file their taxes? When was the last time Reid endorsed or voted for the flat tax? Never. The real tragedy is that while Mr. Reid might be the worst of whats wrong with Washington, he isn't all that's wrong with Washington. Nice of CNN to post this article... but would have liked to see Mr. Reid actually pressured to answer a question or two about his behavior. Until we demand better from these folks, they aren't going to change their reprobate ways.

    September 22, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16