On Friday, Mitt Romney engaged in what is known in the business as a document dump. On Friday afternoon Romney released another, partial, tax return. This time for 2011.
It is the second year that he released most of his tax returns – he still refuses to release the IRS returns that deal with his Swiss bank account, furthering suspicion that he has used it in the past to avoid taxes and was forced to pay a large settlement.
Romney released the returns on Friday afternoon to try to minimize the impact of releasing his low rate of tax payment in a week where he was getting hammered for criticizing the elderly, veterans and low income families for not paying enough taxes.
A review of his returns calls into question more than just his political skills, it also calls into question his ability to do basic math.
First, in violation of the Romney Rule of Presidential Qualification, Mitt Romney paid more taxes than he owed. And he did it intentionally.
In a July interview, Romney said “Frankly, if I had paid more (taxes) 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.”
But in his 2011 taxes Romney claimed more charitable giving than he deducted and paid an extra $250,000 in taxes. That is where his greed and ambition crossed wires.
He could have (a) claimed less charitable giving or (b) paid his actual effective rate of 9 percent and deducted the full charitable giving he listed. Instead he chose (c) claim all of his giving but apply less as a deduction so that he can keep his campaign promise of paying over 13 percent yet go back to the IRS after election day and get his $250,000 back.
His second venture into crazy math was the way the campaign calculated his twenty year tax rate. Rather than dividing his 20 year tax payment by his 20 year income the campaign just averaged out his tax rates.
That is not an accurate way to measure tax rates. It is a deceptive way to measure tax rates.
Additionally, Romney provided zero documentation to support his claims.
Given Romney’s track record there is no reason to believe the numbers he released. There are a number of ways for Romney to manipulate his tax rate – just as he manipulated the 2011 returns that he released.
And when he was running for Governor of Massachusetts he told voters that he had filed Massachusetts taxes when he lived in Utah and worked on the Olympics.
It turned out to be a lie and Romney was forced to amended years of returns to make his statement retroactively accurate.
Harry Reid and other Democrats are right to continue to demand that Romney release his tax records and explain what he is hiding in the Cayman Islands and Swiss bank accounts, how his IRA got to $100,000,000 when he is limited to $6,000 a year donations and what other tax dodges Romney relies on rather than taking responsibility for paying his taxes.
The fact is that if Romney “manned up” and released his records things would be different.
But Romney is gutless.
Mitt Romney will not release even one full year of his returns.
The bottom line is that when it comes to taxes Mitt Romney has a track record of lying and hypocrisy.
Who knows, except Mitt Romney and a few other close associates, why Romney – so close to a Presidential election – would prefer to keep his tax records secret even if it tanks his campaign.
If the GOP wants a candidate to “man up”, they should tell Mitt Romney to grow up and stop hiding his returns and stop disparaging working Americans for meeting their tax obligations while he dodges his.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.