This was an exchange that Mitt Romney had on Sean Hannity's show yesterday, in response to Harry Reid saying that he has heard from a reliable source that Romney paid NO federal taxes for twelve years:
(Before I move on to the tax return question I cannot let Romney's charge about the slow rate of recovery for the economy being Obama's fault. It's not. It is mostly the fault of the Republicans for blocking virtually every attempt to create jobs or repair the damage done to our economy by the disastrous Bush administration.)
Here was Harry Reid's response to Romney telling him to "put up or shut up:"
There is a controversy because the Republican presidential nominee, Governor Mitt Romney, refuses to release his tax returns. As I said before, I was told by an extremely credible source that Romney has not paid taxes for ten years. 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.
Last weekend, Governor Romney promised that he would check his tax returns and let the American people know whether he ever paid a rate lower than 13.9 percent. One day later, his campaign raced to say he had no intention of putting out any further information.
When it comes to answering the legitimate questions the American people have about whether he avoided paying his fair share in taxes or why he opened a Swiss bank account, Romney has shut up. But as a presidential candidate, it’s his obligation to put up, and release several years’ worth of tax returns just like nominees of both parties have done for decades.
It’s clear Romney is hiding something, and the American people deserve to know what it is. Whatever Romney’s hiding probably speaks volumes about how he would approach issues that directly impact middle-class families, like tax reform and the economy. When you are running for president, you should be an open book.
I understand Romney is concerned that many people, Democrats and Republicans, have been calling on him to release his tax returns. He has so far refused. There is only one thing he can do to clear this up, and that’s release his tax returns.
Now Romney has suggested, in that smarmy condescending tone of his, that perhaps Reid's source is someone inside of the White House. However CBS News in Boston suggests a much more intriguing possibility:
Whatever the level of exaggeration from the Senator or his source, there is probably at least some level of truth to the statement. Unfortunately, Romney is stonewalling the American public by not releasing his records so we’ll never know the truth.
But the source coming to Harry Reid for these revelations adds a level of intrigue. Reid just happens to be the highest-ranking member of the Mormon Church in the history of this nation.
It is likely that Senator Reid’s source shares the Mormon religion with Reid and Romney.
That message will not be lost on Romney. If the Bain fortress is not a fortress; if people are talking, Romney knows that trouble lies ahead.
And the motivation for this leak may not be political. It is likely personal and tied to the Mormon Church.
Specifically, if Romney was hiding money from the IRS he may have hidden money from his church.
This was a possibility that I brought up earlier, and it is looking more and more as if IT might be the real source of Romney's panic over his tax returns.
But if not, well THAT is pretty easy to clear up isn't it? Just release them and all of this speculation simply fades away.