Over the weekend, Mitt Romney began to offer some of the specific policy positions he has been reluctant to share with the public. He outlined ways he'd pay for his $5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans: gutting the Department of Education and even mentioning eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development altogether—policies that will have a significant impact on millions of American children and families.
All of this took place at a closed-door, high-dollar fundraiser. We only know the details of Romney's plan because reporters who were shut out of the event overheard it from the street. The message here is simple: You're entitled to hear Romney's policy plans for the country, but only if you can afford the entrance fee. The rest of us get to hear one vague promise after another from Romney—but nothing concrete, lest it scare off more voters.
This follows a long history of Romney's secrecy and playing by a different set of rules. What else is he hiding from the American people? Let's recap.
Tax returns and personal finances: Despite providing 23 years of tax returns to John McCain when Romney was a potential vice presidential running mate, Romney continues to refuse to release those returns to the public. Decades of previous candidates have released multiple years of returns—including his father, who released 12 years of tax information when he ran for president in the 1960s.
We're starting to get details about the questionable methods Romney might have used to drive up the value of his IRA, as well as other ethics and financial disclosure loopholes he's employed to hide his finances from the public. He still has not explained why he opened a Swiss bank account or why he keeps much of his personal wealth in overseas accounts. Until Romney comes clean and releases his returns, we won't know the full story of Romney's finances—where he got his money and what conflicts of interest might arise.
Hard drives and servers: At the end of Romney’s term as governor, his top aides and staff took the unprecedented step of purchasing their state-issued computer hard drives for $65 apiece, and his administration's emails were wiped from the servers, which were replaced. The public will never get to see those records.
Bundlers: Romney refuses to identify his top fundraisers, or bundlers, who bring in millions of dollars to his campaign. Both Republicans and Democrats—including President Obama's—have made it common practice not only to name their bundlers but also to provide money ranges. The only bundlers Romney has released are federal lobbyists—and only because he is required to by a law President Obama helped pass. Until he identifies his top fundraisers, we won't know, as the Associated Press reported, "who wields influence inside the GOP frontrunner's campaign and how their interests might benefit if he is elected."
What is Romney hiding?