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GOP2012: Republican debate, October 11th, 2011
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Fact Check

Romney Refused to Release His Own Tax Returns…

January 16, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Giving his incomprehensible answer the benefit of the doubt, tonight Mitt Romney said he would “probably” release his tax returns in April.  But that’s not what he said last month, when in an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Romney said he doubted he would release his tax returns at all. He’ll say anything to get elected – previously he’d even criticized his opponents for not releasing their tax returns, but he never has released his own tax returns and he continues to refuse to do so now.
Romney Said He Did Not Intend To Release His Tax Returns If He Were The Nominee. Asked if he would release his tax returns if he were the nominee, Romney said, “I doubt it. I will, I will provide all the financial info, which is an extraordinary pile of documents which show investments and so forth.” [Interview, NBC News, 12/21/11]
Romney: “In Regards To Income Taxes, That's Not Something That's Required By The Law” So “I'm Not Planning On Releasing My Income Taxes Anytime Soon.” In an interview with KWQC’s Joe St. George, Romney was asked, “Let’s talk about the issue of transparency. You said you’re not going to release some donor information, your tax returns. How can Iowan voters trust someone who is not going to be that transparent?” Romney responded, “Well we have a series of laws that describe the kind of disclosure that's appropriate and required for candidates running for office. We follow all of those disclosure requirements. And in regards to income taxes, that's not something that's required by the law. I'm not planning on releasing my income taxes anytime soon. But, you know we will wait and see what happens – never say never.” St. George then asked, “So you’re open to the possibility of opening them up?” Romney responded, “It’s always a possibility but I'm not planning on it at this point but we'll see what happens down the road.” [KWQC interview with Romney, 12/28/11]

  • 2007: Romney Refused To Release His Tax Returns While Running For President.  [AP, 8/13/07]
  • 2002: Romney – Who Pumped Nearly $5 Million Of His Own Money Into His Campaign - Refused To Make His Income Tax Returns Public. “Romney, who has pumped nearly $ 5 million of his own money into the campaign, has refused repeated requests by O’Brien’s campaign to follow her lead and make his income tax returns public.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 11/4/02]
  • 1994/2002: Romney Refused To Release His Tax Returns While Running For Senate And Governor.  [Washington Post, 6/19/07]

1994: Romney Said He Would Disclose His Tax Returns If Kennedy Did. “Romney has never released his tax returns - when running for US Senate in 1994, for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, or during his last presidential bid in 2008. During his 1994 race against Senator Edward M. Kennedy, he called on him to release his state and federal taxes to prove he had ‘nothing to hide.’ ‘It’s time the biggest-taxing senator in Washington shows the people of Massachusetts how much he pays in taxes,’ Romney said at the time. He said he would disclose his on the same day as Kennedy, but Kennedy never did.” [Boston Globe, 12/23/11]

  • 1994: Romney Challenged Kennedy To Release His Tax Returns And “Chided” Him “For Never Releasing His State Or Federal Taxes In The 32 Years He Has Served In The Senate.” “With the tax-filing deadline looming, Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney yesterday challenged Sen. Edward M. Kennedy to disclose his state and federal taxes to prove he has ‘nothing to hide,’ but another GOP rival, John R. Lakian, called Romney’s move ‘bush league’ ‘It’s time the biggest-taxing senator in Washington shows the people of Massachusetts how much he pays in taxes," said Romney, a business consultant from Belmont. Romney said he would disclose his own state and federal taxes for the last three years ‘on the very day that Kennedy turns over his taxes for public scrutiny.’ Aides to Kennedy said late yesterday they could not immediately respond to the Romney challenge. Kennedy does release federal disclosure forms every year, but those have only ranges for income and investments. The forms indicate he receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in income from blind trusts and other family wealth. Romney chided Kennedy for never releasing his state or federal taxes in the 32 years he has served in the Senate. Many Massachusetts politicians, including Gov. Weld and Lt. Gov. Paul Cellucci, release their taxes every year.” [Boston Globe, 4/14/94]

2002: Despite Not Releasing His Own Tax Returns, Romney Criticized His Opponent Shannon O’Brien For Not Having Her Husband Release His. “At the moment, however, Mr. Romney is trying to have it both ways. On April 16, he lambasted his most likely Democratic foe, Shannon O’Brien  who discloses her tax return for filing separately from her husband who does not. The husband is Emmett Hayes, a former state representative and until recently a Beacon Hill lobbyist. One of Mr. Hayes’s clients was Enron. Mr. Romney is in high dudgeon that Ms. O’Brien hasn’t released Mr. Hayes’s tax forms with her own. ‘Her hands aren’t clean!’ he says…If Romney & Healey, who are candidates, won’t release their tax forms, they have no business demanding that Mr. Hayes, who isn’t a candidate, do so.” [Editorial, Providence Journal Bulletin, 5/9/02]
Washington Post Editorial: It Is “Unacceptable” For Romney To Not Release His Tax Returns And Criticized Him For Hiding Behind Legal Requirements. “Mitt Romney is zero for two when it comes to transparency in campaigning. … Now Mr. Romney has doubled down on this lack of transparency, telling NBC that he does not intend to release his tax returns even if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee. “Never say never, but I don’t intend to do so,” Mr. Romney said Wednesday. On Thursday, that stance seemed to be softening somewhat, to: “We don’t have any current plans to release tax returns, but never say never.’’ This is unacceptable and, as with the Romney campaign’s stance on bundlers, a sharp departure from previous practice. … Yet it has become a given that nominees, much like presidents and vice presidents, release their income tax returns. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has released his, and former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R) pledged he would do so upon becoming the nominee. As with bundlers, Mr. Romney hides behind legal requirements. It is true that candidates are required to file financial disclosure forms, but tax returns provide information not otherwise available, including charitable contributions and effective tax rates.” [Editorial, Washington Post, 12/25/11]
Washington Post Editorial: Romney’s Refusal To Release His Tax Returns “Represents A Striking And Disturbing Departure From The Past Practice Of Presidential Candidates Of Both Parties.” “As Mitt Romney edges closer to the Republican presidential nomination, the imperative grows for the former Massachusetts governor to release his income tax returns and disclose the identities of the fundraising bundlers who have brought in millions for his campaign. Mr. Romney’s determined lack of transparency on these two fronts — the candidate and his campaign have said he has no plans to release either — represents a striking and disturbing departure from the past practice of presidential candidates of both parties. Asking candidates to make their tax returns public is undoubtedly an invasion of privacy. But it is one that comes with the territory of a presidential campaign. Such disclosure is not required by law but, as with the voluntary release of tax filings by the president and vice president, it has become routine, if at times grudging and belated. Tax returns offer information not available on the financial disclosure forms that are legally required of candidates, including their charitable deductions and use of tax shelters. Tax information could be especially revealing in the case of Mr. Romney and his extensive investment income, which may be why he has been reluctant to release it.” [Editorial, Washington Post, 1/11/12]
NH Union-Leader Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid, Citing His Unwillingness To Release His Tax Returns, Wrote That Romney Has A “Tin Ear.” McQuaid: “Romney is a nice, rich man with a tin ear (he may or may not release his income taxes) and plenty of pals in the Republican in-crowd.” [McQuaid Op-Ed, New Hampshire Union Leader, 1/8/12]
George Romney Was Believed To Be The First Presidential Candidate To Make His Income Tax Returns Public. "Many presidential candidates in the past have disclosed their net assets, stock holdings and other financial data which might relate to the public trust. But [George] Romney was believed the first to make his income tax returns public - including his annual wages, dividends, interest, capital gains and other compensation." [St. Joseph Gazette, 11/27/67]
In Describing How His Father Influenced Him, Romney Mentioned That His Father, George Romney, Released His Tax Returns. When asked to describe how his father influenced him, Romney said, “My dad was a carpenter who never completed college, yet he went on to be CEO of American Motors and governor of Michigan. At home, he filled us with the conviction that life was not handed to us on a silver platter. He made sure my brother and I mowed the lawn, shoveled the driveway. When he ran for president and his tax returns were published, it was clear he could’ve hired a landscaper. But he decided we would learn to work with our hands.” [Parade, 12/4/11]

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