Romney Gets Backed Into Corner Over Tax Returns
During Thursday night's Republican debate in Charleston, South Carolina the four remaining candidates for their party's nomination were asked about their tax returns and when or if they were going to release them.
When first asked the question Romney responded, “When my taxes are complete for this year, and I know that if I’m the nominee, the President is going to want to insist that I show what my income was this last year, so when they’re completed this year in April, I will release my returns in April for this year, and probably for other years as well.”
This issue has been a stumbling point this week for the Republican front runner. Far wealthier than any of the other candidates Governor Romney has been more than hesitant when discussing the release of his returns. There have been questions as to the effective rate he historically pays. In addition this week there has been suggestions that he has used off shore accounts and investments as tax shelters for the wealth he has amassed.
Romney was mistaken if he thought the answer he provided would be sufficient for moderator John King. King returned the focus to Romney with this question, "Governor Romney you mentioned the Democratic attacks, I want to ask you to go back in history a little bit. Back in 1967 your father set a ground breaking, what was then a ground breaking standard in American politics. He released his tax returns. He released them for not one year but for twelve years and when he did that he said this, 'one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.' When you release yours will you follow your fathers example?"
Romney responded with "Maybe" which was followed with what some may call nervous laughter.
He went on, "You know I don't know how many years I'll release. I'll take a look at what our documents are..." Romney had to pause for a negative response from the crowd before finishing with, "..and I'll release multiple years, I don't know how many years, but I'll be happy to do that."
There is every reason to believe that he will not actually be happy to release his tax returns. This is certainly not something he is looking forward to doing.
The obvious next question is....why not?