Mitt Romney’s stubborn refusal to release his tax returns for the years before 2010 has made it easy for Democrats to paint him as a secretive oligarch hiding something dark (like offshore tax havens, perhaps?). On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a National Council of La Raza convention in Las Vegas, and simultaneously attacked the Republican’s immigration policy as well as his personal finances. “He wants you to show your papers, but he won’t show us his,” Biden said.
Many Republicans want the issue to go away, insisting that how he paid his taxes is irrelevant. “Governor Romney has been very successful,” said a GOP Congressman recently. “Get over it.”
Yet it’s worth remembering now that many Republicans spent the primary season demanding that Romney release his tax returns. Some used almost the exact same language that Democrats are using now.
Here are six Republicans who have suggested that Romney must come clean:
Before the South Carolina caucuses, Gingrich called on Romney to reveal his financial history.
“If you’re a South Carolinian, you say, ‘Wait a second, why don’t you want me to know about it? Why are you going to wait until after I’ve voted?’ Last night he conceded in principle that he owes it to the public to share it — strikes me he ought to do it before South Carolina votes.” Or perhaps before America votes, at least.
In January, Republican candidate Rick Santorum chimed in to demand transparency of Romney’s finances. As The Hill reported:
“I don’t know why he hasn’t released his tax returns. I think he should,” Santorum said in an interview Monday on the Laura Ingraham radio show. The former Pennsylvania senator added that it was important especially for “someone with [an] enormity of wealth,” like Romney.
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, former Republican presidential candidate, drove home the importance of the matter. “We need for you to release your income tax,” he said at a GOP debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C. “We cannot fire our nominee in September. We need to know now.”
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey urged Romney in January to surrender his tax returns. “I would say to Governor Romney is that if you have tax returns to put out, you know, you should put them out sooner rather than later because it’s always better in my view to have complete disclosure, especially when you’re the front-runner.” Like many others, Christie assumed Romney would eventually release the data after winning the nomination. “He’s going to release when he files in April,” he said. But April has come and long gone, and still no tax returns.
Last Monday, on CNN’s The Situation Room, former Mississippi Governor and Republican National Committee chair Haley Barbour became the latest prominent party leader to ask Romney to release his tax returns. “I would [release my tax returns],” he said,” but should it be an issue in a campaign? I don’t think it matters diddly.”
Back in 1968, during his failed bid for the White House, Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, whom the candidate has often cited as his moral exemplar, released 12 years worth of tax returns. “One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show,” George Romney said back in the day. Guess how many years of tax returns his son, Mitt, has released? One.