Has the 2012 Presidential Campaign hit bottom yet?

Probably not, since Senate Majority leader Harry Reid’s most recent thunder-bolt on Mitt Romney’s taxes is still in the forefront of the election fight.  Word is that the GOP is in a bind over trying to explain away Reid’s accusations, giving them too much credibility, or ignoring them and assuming the assumption of guilt.  It seems that Reid has a creditable source that claims that Romney did not pay any taxes for 10 years.  Romney denies this; Reid stands by his statement.



Nevada Senator Harry Reid

Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer claims the whole thing stems from a weekly meeting of Pres. Obama’s senior campaign adviser David Axelrod with Senate Democrats, including Harry Reid.  Spicer says it wasn’t a coincidence that later that day, Reid made his statement to the Huff Post.  But the Huff people countered saying it interviewed Reid days before Axelrod’s visit, making any influence from the top Obama official’s Capitol Hill visit impossible.

Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone insists that the Senator’s source is creditable.  He says he knows the person and would have stepped in and said something to Reid if not.  Mitt Romney tells Harry to put up or shut up on his source.  Reid says this whole thing can be solved by the candidate releasing 12 years of tax returns, like his father George did in 1967, setting a precedent that most presidential candidates have followed for years.  Obama says it’s between Reid and Romney.

Video on the battle between Reid and Romney:

But why is Romney refusing to release any additional years of taxes if he has nothing to hide.  That is, if there are any tax returns to release.  John McCain says Romney released over 20 years of tax returns to him when vetted for vice president; does that alone establish the fact that he did pay taxes?  McCain adds that he saw nothing that would have disqualified him as a running mate.  This also comes from the man who chose Sarah Palin over Romney for VP.
The elder, George Romney
Edward Kleinbard and Peter Canellos are well known, respected law scholars and tax experts and they comment: “Either Romney has an unresolved father figure issue, or he has some special reason not to follow a tradition established by his father.”  They claim by his actions, “…Mitt Romney appears to have exempted himself from the proud bipartisan tradition of presidential nominees displaying genuine financial candor with the electorate.”  We must admit, it does look suspicious, considering also Bain Capital and all his foreign investments.
Kleinbard and Canellos charge that it isn’t current tax returns that will reveal the information necessary to judge the man, it’s what he did on his taxes in the past before he decided to run for president that matters.  And they think that a man with his financial stature should certainly have avoided “tax skeletons in his closet.”  K & C take it further in stating that basing Romney’s finances on only one return leaves the American public with “troubling” results.
When talking about the 2010 return, K & C say that “…when combined with his FEC disclosure, reveals red flags that raise serious tax compliance questions with respect to his possible tax minimization strategies in earlier years.”  These include Romney’s Swiss bank accounts, a $100 million IRA that had “remarkable” growth, a question of gift tax on family trusts, the 2010 tax return itself, and Romney’s “extraordinarily low effective tax rate.  This limited loophole costs the U.S. billions of dollars annually.

And even if Harry Reid is wrong, and he has said he cannot confirm the charge that he has made, there is still something wrong with Mitt Romney’s tax picture.  On the surface he seems like an honest person; after all, he is Mormon.  Howard Hughes hired only Mormons to attend him in his later years because he said they were honest, you could trust them.  It would seem that the only way we will know if we can trust Romney is if he releases more tax returns.

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