“I have paid taxes every year, and a lot of taxes,” Republican Mitt Romney said today.
His unequivocal statement is a response to suggestions from Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader, that Romney has averted paying taxes for many years.
“I was told by an extremely credible source that Romney has not paid taxes for ten years,” Reid said in a statement issued last night, following up on comments he’d made on the Senate floor. “People who make as much money as Mitt Romney have many tricks at their disposal to avoid paying taxes. We already know that Romney has exploited many of these loopholes, stashing his money in secret, overseas accounts in places like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.”
Campaigning in Reid’s home state today, Romney had this to say to the majority leader: “Harry Reid really has to put up or shut up. Harry, who are your sources?”
Romney had said much the same thing in an interview on Sean Hannity’s Fox Radio show: “It’s time for Harry to put up or shut up,” Romney told Hannity yesterday. “It’s untrue, dishonest and inaccurate — it’s wrong. I’m looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources, and we’ll probably find out it’s the White House.”
Of course, there’s no settling the argument for sure, as Romney has refused to release more than two years of tax returns — the 2010 returns already released showing an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent paid on $21 million in investment income — and the 2011 returns promised after his accountants are finished with the deadline-extended filing.
MoveOn.org, a group that supports President Barack Obama, greeted Romney’s campaigning out West this week after a week-long trip to Europe with an airplane towing a banner outside the event: “Welcome Back Mitt! Now Release Those Returns!”
And Obama’s re-election campaign is running a TV ad about Romney in several swing states:
“’You work hard,” the narrator of Obama’s ad says in high sympathy, “Stretch every penny. But chances are, you pay a higher tax rate than him.”
Bloomberg’s John McCormick and Julie Hirschfeld Davis contributed.