As long as Mitt Romney refuses to release more tax returns, the void of information is going to keep creating more and more questions. Did Romney ever pay no taxes in a year? Did he take part in the 2009 tax amnesty? How did he get so much money in his IRA? Did Romney evey pay less than a 5 percent tax rate?
These questions won’t just be asked rhetorically but will continue to be asked directly of Romney by reporters. The latest example was Romney’s ABC interview with David Muri:
Muir: You are here on what some have termed your world audition and democrats, not surprisingly, continue to hammer you back home on taxes, you remain firm two years and two years only. So from what you have released and from what we have seen we know that there was one year when you paid about 13.9% tax rate. Can we clear this up by asking a simple yes or no question? Was there ever any year when you paid lower than 13.9%?
Romney: I haven’t calculated that. I’m happy to go back and look but my view is I’ve paid all the taxes required by law. From time to time I’ve been audited as happens I think to other citizens as well and the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job [paying] taxes as legally due. I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.
Muir: You said you would go back and look, would you look for us?
Romney: I haven’t looked at the tax rate paid year by year. I know that I pay a very substantial amount of taxes and every year since the beginning of my career so far as I can recall.
Now that Romney has promised to go back and look there is an opening for someone to ask a follow up question, and if Romney doesn’t answer, that will in turn create even more questions about why Romney isn’t following through on his promises.
As along as Romney refuses to release more returns, the issue will dog him. There is only one simple way for Romney to put a stop to this, and that is by releasing more returns. That fact that Romney still hasn’t done so in the face of the growing PR problem is very weird and feeds the idea he is hiding something big.