This summer, Democrats have been increasingly willing to float unfounded accusations against Mitt Romney in order to promote them. We’ve seen this, for instance, with Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs suggesting that “nobody knows” whether Romney is a tax cheat. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has taken the non-accusation accusation to a new level today.
The Huffington Post reports:
In a wide-ranging interview with The Huffington Post from his office on Capitol Hill, Reid saved some of his toughest words for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Romney couldn’t make it through a Senate confirmation process as a mere Cabinet nominee, the majority leader insisted, owing to the opaqueness of his personal finances.
“His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” Reid said, in reference to George Romney’s standard-setting decision to turn over 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in the late 1960s. Saying he had “no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy,” Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office.
“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.
“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?
“You guys have said his wealth is $250 million,” Reid went on. “Not a chance in the world. It’s a lot more than that. I mean, you do pretty well if you don’t pay taxes for 10 years when you’re making millions and millions of dollars.”
This is nonsense on several levels. We don’t even know if the conversation took place. If somebody did actually call Reid claiming to be a Bain investor, we don’t know if he actually was one and Reid’s office will not identify the person. Even if the person was a Bain Capital investor, there’s no reason to believe he or she had access to Romney’s personal tax returns. And in what Romney has released of his tax returns, he paid $6.2 million in taxes over two years.
It’s completely irresponsible for the leader of the Senate to engage in such rumor-mongering, but as Allahpundit explains, it isn’t too hard to see where Reid is going with the strategy: “Either Mitt will start to sweat and release his returns, as Democrats have demanded, in order to disprove Reid’s charge or he’ll sit tight and the smear will circulate online, with Romney’s refusal to disclose the documents taken as ‘proof’ that Reid is right.”