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Your Take: Presidential Candidates Releasing Tax Returns

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Mitt RomneyWe’re in a funny time period in terms of sports right now. We’re in the second half of Major League Baseball but not yet near the end of the season where we start talking about wildcard berths and division winners. We’re in the off-season of almost every other major sport and so other than the occasional Major in golf and tennis, there isn’t much in terms of major sports events until the Olympics (which only comes by during this time once ever four years). So our only daily sport is politics… fortunately we have some of that gladiatorial combat for us to enjoy with it being a Presidential election year.

So this week’s latest battle involves Mitt Romney’s involvement at Bain, some potentially improper SEC filings by Bain, the Obama campaign calling him out on it, and a revisiting of of Romney refusing to release more than two years of tax returns. It’s all part of the vitriol that is politics in our 24/7 news cycle and mainstream media trying to get as many eyeballs as possible.

The part that I wanted to ask you guys about is the tax returns. Should Romney really have to release more than two years of personal income tax returns? It’s become this thing that’s grown bigger and bigger with each day. Romney made a ton of money, I say good for him, but should he have to lay bare his financial life? Is that fair?

I don’t think it’s fair but that’s what we demand from the people who are seeking our nation’s highest office. You don’t have to release all of your tax returns. You also don’t have to run for President. When you are going for such a high profile position, everyone wants to know everything about you. It’s not fair but it’s the standard.

What do you think?

(Photo: gageskidmore)

{ 93 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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93 Responses to “Your Take: Presidential Candidates Releasing Tax Returns”

  1. Howard says:

    How about this? Romney releases his tax statements when Obama releases his birth certificate

    • Jim says:

      He already released his birth certificate, but these two are not related. One thing I don’t understand about the birther movement is how insistent they are that President Obama isn’t a citizen. The man is almost through his first term in office yet you have people who still insist that the certificate of live birth wasn’t sufficient. They look foolish and crazy to everyone else.

  2. Rob O. says:

    Admittedly, this isn’t quite an apples to apples comparison, but why should Romney disclose this additional data request when Obama opted to ignore the “birther” issue for so long?

    Had Romney declined to supply the requisite 2 years of data, then sure, that’s something to crow about. This is needless and an invasion of the guy’s privacy.

    • NateUVM says:

      He’s probably opted to “ignore” the issue because those that keep clinging to it refuse to acknowledge the facts of the situation.

      He’s provided the requisite short form version of his birth certificate (6/12/08). He then, when pushed, though not required in any way to do so, provided the long form version of his birth certificate(4/27/11). The long form, by the way, is actually easier to fudge and change and is actually LESS official than the short form that everyone else uses (which, by the way, is why it’s the standard), but it doesn’t matter because they matched.

      Not sure how he has “ignored” the issue.

      So, because the “birthers” can’t seem to accept clear and concise evidence and react to it in a rational manner, there is clearly no point in carrying on the discussion as clearly no further evidence would ever be enough to satisfy the unreasonably outrageous high burden of proof that they seem to demand.

      What keeps getting lost in this is… What’s the point? I mean, the other option was John McCain, and he wasn’t even born in the US (Panama Canal Zone). Given the “birthers” concerns, we wouldn’t want him in office, either!

    • Korry says:

      He provided his birth certificate. What else do you want him to do? After that why would he do anything but ignore the wackos who can’t accept reality? What an incredibly stupid, stupid, stupid question.

  3. Ray says:

    I say SURE, as long as Obama releases his transcripts in college and in law school as well as the papers he had to write while working on his law degree.

    • Jim says:

      That’s not related to taxes at all, that’s like asking Romney to produce all the work products Bain created when outsourcing jobs. All the recommendations of what to do with the companies they acquired an interested in. I personally have no problem with a private equity firm making a company outsourcing to become more competitive… that’s part of how that business operates (plus, there’s always the argument that without outsourcing, the companies might not have survived).

      But this reeks of partisan politics.

  4. Mitt “Goody-Two-Shoes” Romney probably has little to hide with his tax returns, but you can bet everything he releases will be gone through with a fine tooth comb looking for anything to play into the class warfare narrative. He should comply with the law, nothing more and nothing less.

    I don’t think I would want a President who wasn’t highly successful, especially if that money was earned in the private sector running enterprises and not off of government connections and cronyism. The country is in serious need of a turnaround specialist right now.

  5. Guy In San Antonio says:

    I go with Trumps suggestion that as long as Obama release his college transcripts, Romney release his tax returns. Fair is Fair. The Obama administration is simply trying to deflect from their dismal record on the economy.

    Class envy is not the way to fix this

    • Jim says:

      Fair is fair? Are you kidding me? College transcripts and tax returns are not the same.

      As for the dismal record, we lost around 8 million jobs in the recession and recovered 4 million of them. It may not be all sunshine and roses but what can you expect given what precipitated this whole thing.

  6. chalaco says:

    Mitt Momney saved himself hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes in 2010 by transferring stock in two companies from his personal account to a nonprofit entity he set up. The stock maneuver included $172,397 in shares of Sensata Technologies, a company now under fire for a high-profile effort to offshore central Illinois jobs to China.

    Nice job Mr Momney, how could you do that to your american workers?

  7. Deb says:

    imo ~ the TAX Returns ARE important!
    even More important now, with 20 major Republicans demanding their release as well.

    “Since the Watergate era, presidential candidates have released several years of tax returns, allowing voters to peer at their financial choices and discern their entanglements.” ~ nytimes article
    (“Mr. Romney’s Financial Black Hole” – July 10, 2012)

    Great article here ~ more questions Than Answers ~ But GREAT Questions !!!… !!!
    In this article:

    “Mitt Romney has been very reluctant to release his tax returns.”…

    … “WHY ~ has Romney opened foreign bank accounts, such as a Swiss account with $3 million that appeared on his 2010 returns but not his 2011 returns?

    “Was he ~ betting against the strength of the US dollar [with those Bain investments]?
    “How might such financial interests affect his policies as president?”…
    ??? … ??? … ??? …

    THESE are IMPORTANT Questions and THESE are important issues for the American people ~ in the deciding of who should be their leader, making HUGE financial decisions for us!! Including the investment in wars!

    I don’t know ALL of why he is not wanting to release the information ~ But there is speculation (and not unreasonable) to think that some of his money (even those not-so-Blind-Trusts) may have been parked in:
    1) Those investments that BET AGAINST the United States housing market ~ and WON LOTS of money for those so invested on the high stakes bet that it Would crash (2008) ~ did he collect on That bet. (?)
    2) bets with his investment dollars ~ against the strength of the US dollar.
    3) all those Other investments ~ possibly in Foreign lands and companies, that could lead to some sobering suspicion of his allegiances ~ especially where it involves [his] Big Money!
    THESE ARE Reasonable Inquiries! ~ by the people he proposes to ‘lead’

    Mitt is on public record: in 1994 he said of Blind Trusts ~ “The Blind Trust is AN AGE OLD RUSE”**
    **’Ruse’ : a ‘clever deception’

    Those who are closing their eyes and mind to THESE questions ~~
    BUT using Birther-conspiracy arguments
    (or EVEN quoting Trump as a reference!!!…!!!)

    … well ~ Voltaire said it Best:
    “It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”

    • Deb says:

      the first time i hit the button to post comment ~ a “Data ERROR” message appeared and looked as if it did not send.
      please feel free to delete one of these.

  8. Bob Weil says:

    Obama, the Bushes, Clinton & Romney’s dad released way more tax returns than Mitt’s willing to – even though Rmoney released 12 years to McCain when he wanted the VP slot in ’08.
    Add that to the off-shore accounts, questions about his participation in Bain’s off-shoring & making money whether the firms they invested in, succeeded or failed – plus his budgets’ tax breaks for the rich and the anonymous donations to his campaign – corporations, billionaires & even potentially foreign.
    And I am very skeptical of his finances or that he has the interest of most Americans at heart.

    • zapeta says:

      The fact that McCain saw 12 years of returns and that Romney didn’t get the VP nod sure says a lot. They figured that they’d take their chances with a complete idiot in Palin than untangle the Romney mess.

      I am also very skeptical that he has the interest of most Americans at heart.

      • Deb says:

        I sincerely share your skepticism zapeta.
        the rejection of Romney over Palin in 2008 ~ speaks VOLUMES.

  9. Ryan says:

    How Romney made his money matters very little to me, as long as the guy didn’t kill babies to get it I don’t care, it honestly matters very little even in the grand scheme of things related to the presidency. I can’t believe that I’m commenting on it.

  10. Matt M says:

    I’ve been getting that a few times recently, and it doesn’t give you the BB for the comment.:(

    • Shirley says:

      I have too, Matt. A screen pops up saying, “Duplicate comment. It looks like you have said that before.”

      Maybe IE9 is not playing well here again.

  11. Ray says:

    “But this reeks of partisan politics.”

    Asking for additional years of tax returns is different?

    I want a President who doesn’t pick and choose what law he is going to uphold and which one he will ignore. With 4 more years of Obama, Jim, you will need all of your bargaineering skills to survive. Good luck.

    Bash away since I’m not coming back.

    • Jim says:

      If it weren’t a precedent set many many years ago, I’d say that calling for Romney’s returns now would also be unfair but it’s now the standard, even if not the law.

  12. Mike says:

    I have faith that the American people will decide our President based on the state of the economy. It’s been this way since Reagan.

  13. James says:

    I’m not sure what extra years of tax returns would prove. If there was something fishy, there would have been an audit. If Romney never had an audit, then there isn’t a need to peer at years of his financials. For as much non-important things that Obama went through, you would think he would avoid junk like this. He isn’t this “different” kind of politican he campaigned as, he is just another politican.

  14. Peter says:

    It’s highly unlikely that there is anything illegal or un-ethical in Romney’s tax returns, he’s been a highly public figure for years, and he’d be pretty foolish to do anything untoward. He hasn’t been audited or fined or anything previously to my knowledge. I say if he doesn’t want to release the returns, more power to him. Release what you’re required to by law, and nothing more.

    To me it’s obvious that his opponents just want him to release the extra returns so that they can go on a fishing expedition trying to find anything that fits their “Romney the corporate fat-cat” meme. If I were him I wouldn’t be releasing anything extra either. I think he’s weighing the pros and cons and finding the cons of releasing them and giving his opponent more things to dig through and use against him (whether it’s illegal or not) – outweigh the pros of total disclosure.

    Let’s not forget that there are plenty of things Obama hasn’t disclosed when not required, even if it isn’t related to taxes. I’m fine with that too. Release what’s required and nothing more. If people think more should be required, then make it law!

    Also, in regards to the “potentially improper SEC filings”, I don’t think anyone at the SEC or people who deal with securities law has said they were improper, mostly just folks from the Obama camp. There is a difference between being an owner and controlling party of a company as Romney was, and being involved in day to day operations – which he wasn’t.

  15. Do we even need to see Romney’s tax return? He probably made 100 million plus in his time at Bain and that’s obviously why he won’t release it!

    Obama hasn’t done too well, but do I want to vote for some guy who isn’t even in the same financial stratosphere as most of America? He grew up rich, and all that stuff he said about how he made it by himself is BS. If you don’t think his rich dad helped him out along the way you are insane. I don’t blame him but I don’t like the fact that he tries to blast Obama for that.

  16. elloo says:

    Romney is not required to release years of tax returns. Truthfully, I am not too upset about the flack he taking for it. Peggy Noonan, a former Bush speech writer who I mostly disagree with, wrote in the WSJ a few days ago about this matter. For once, I agree with her. He has been wanting to be president for years. If that was his goal, then it would be prudent for Romney to make sure there is nothing, I mean nothing, in his returns to raise eyebrows because it will come out eventually. Here’s the link:

  17. Scott says:

    Like most things the Obama administration produces, the tax records issue is a diversion. If he is guilty of something. Charge him. If not move on.

    Obama said he would have the “most transparent administration” in history. So far he has had the most denials of freedom of information act requests in history. The media will not ask him a question, not that he actually holds press conferences anymore. He just holds press speeches, because he has no intention of being questioned by anyone.

    I will pinch my nose and vote Romney, because at lease in him we will again have a president that the media is not terrified to ask a question.

  18. Philip says:

    This is all a distraction trumped up by the leftist media so that we’ll stop talking about the struggling economy. The game is over though. People are wising up. They don’t care what he made, or how he made it. They want a leader on the economic front. Obama had his chance. Nice try, but not enough.

  19. mannymacho says:

    I wonder if there was some deal between Romney and Bain to not disclose company financial data (since it’s still a private company) or something like that, and that’s why he’s not releasing the returns.

  20. Jay says:

    If you want the highest office in the land, you should have nothing to hide, especially paying your fair share of taxes. If someone doesn’t want to release income tax information, that should raise a few eyebrows. It wouldn’t bother me to have my taxes made public, because they were filed honestly and accurately.

    • JoeTaxpayer says:

      Agreed, 100%. His hesitation just creates the question of “what is he hiding.” I have no issue with wealth, per se, but a tax return tells far more than just a bottom line net worth.

  21. Scott says:

    To illustrate how over-hyped the whole thing is, ask yourself how many articles were written about John Kerry’s tax returns when he was running? (He’s worth more than $230MM). How many articles have been written about Nancy Pelosi’s tax returns? (worth more than $100MM). The media is only concerned with villifying those they hate. And they never hate liberals.

    Avoid diversions. Issues, issues issues. Let’s stick to the issues. Therein we will find what matters most in selecting a president.

  22. NateUVM says:

    The whole thing is silly. Assuming no laws were broken, it really shouldn’t matter. There are, however, two different things going on here.

    1) Everyone does this. Most candidates for the oval office, going back several elections now, have released 5+ years of returns. Romney insisting on limiting his to 2 just looks bad. That’s why Republican Governors are pushing him to release them. They want the issue to go away.

    2) The information within them, COULD be revealing in the way they shed light on what kind of attitude Romney has towards the benefit of the common (read: American) good. If he’s making millions on millions, but is sheltering it away in some off-shore accounts… Not illegal. Don’t begrudge him that. But is that the kind of attitude we want from public servant #1? From someone whose party affiliation would demand that more services get cut instead of raising taxes on the rich, keeping the proportion of taxes paid by lower income taxpayers the same while the rich still have access to things like off-shore accounts? How much do you weigh that? I think it helps paint the picture of his character.

    So, it’s a fair question, and I hope he does it. Seems kind-of silly not to. I mean, how private did he think his life was going to be once he was President?

  23. Mike says:

    Wasn’t President Obama’s treasury secretary a tax cheat?

    I don’t think he has any problem working with him.

    • NateUVM says:

      I don’t think anyone is trying to suggest that Romney cheated on his taxes. Quite the contrary, I believe that he has probably handled his finances in such an expert manner as to avoid any suggestion of impropriety.

      The issue at hand is, what particular strategies is he not wanting to have shared? Are they such an embarrassment (i.e. not necessarily geared towards the public good) that they could be construed as a liability to his campaign efforts? So much so that he would rather leave people to assume the worst through hsi refusal to divulge?

      For instance, and I am NOT saying this is the case with Romney, I just want to make the example… But is it illegal to invest in Phillip Morris, to own stock in that company? No. But who really wants to admit to everybody they know that that’s where they invest their money.

      [Again, it’s all about impression… If anyone has any money in almost any mutual fund that invests in large-Cap equities, they probably ALL invest in Phillip Morris. But who thinks about that?]

      • Mike says:

        I think I’d rather talk about the economy and the candidate’s solutions, not about someone’s finances.

        • Deb says:

          Records show that he ran Bain Capitol for 25 YEARS (or more) of his life.
          He is running for the office of President on That ‘business record’ ~
          so let the Records Speak.
          How he conducted himself and his financial affairs for a Quarter of a Century ~ has EVERYTHING to Do with how he plans to run our Economy.
          Mitt’s “solutions” are ENTIRELY wrapped up ~ in HOW he ran his own private Economy
          ~ and those tax statements could well incriminate his methods AND his long-view for the American people.
          and we should KNOW about his long view. (imo)

      • Scott says:

        Nate, Are you also suggesting that Obama should release his college transcripts and his passport records? Or does he get a pass just because he is liberal?

  24. Ryan says:

    Why do we care what Romney does with his money? I want to know what he’s going to do with MY money. That, I’m not clear on, but I do know that they’ll both squander much of yours and mine. I’m hoping Romney will squander less.

  25. Lynn says:

    Yes, definitely. Unless you have something to hide, why not release the records. If you are running for the highest office and want to be a leader, then follow the rules. How can we judge his leadership, character and his resume when he will not provide us anything about him.

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