Washington - Besieged when
they should be on attack, even the
ostentatious officials of the Republican party are
imploring their man Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns.
After weeks of talking
about Romney's finances rather than President Barack Obama's jobs record, it is
time, they say, for the multi-millionaire businessman to take the bat out of
candidate is not for turning.
going to put out two years of tax returns," Romney told the Fox
& Friends programme on Sunday, referring to the 2010 return he has already
released and the full 2011 return he has vowed to release before the November 6
But there are
some good reasons why Romney may continue with what to outsiders may seem
like Sisyphean resistance.
heat, "you don't exactly see the bottom falling out of Romney's (polling)
numbers", explained Bruce Haynes, a long-time Republican operative now
with the bipartisan consultancy Purple Strategies.
Real Clear Politics' average of polls, Obama remains marginally ahead in the
head-to-head race, but the gap has actually narrowed in the last few weeks
despite the focus on Romney.
Haynes said, he would advise Romney not to release his returns, at least not
doesn't want to feed a machine that seems focused on his personal economic
circumstances. That is not the narrative of the campaign that Romney would like
little doubt that Romney releasing more returns would provide fodder for those
arguing he is out of touch.
At the unlikely
end of the scale, Romney could unwittingly provide evidence of legal wrongdoing
that could shatter his White House bid.
More likely, it
could reveal that Romney's effective tax rate is a fraction of that paid by
most Americans, thanks to a series of offshore bank accounts and other tax
be that he maybe did something that was kind of shady, not in an illegal sense,
but got his effective tax rate very low," said Martin Sullivan of Tax
The structure of
Romney's pay likely means that his remuneration from Bain Capital is taxed as a
capital gain, at around 15%, rather than as an income tax at more than
double the rate.
return shows he paid an effective tax rate of 15% in 2010, by the pay
being taxed as "deferred interest."
he got his effective tax rate to5% or might even be 0%. That would
be damning," said Sullivan. None of this would be illegal, but it would be
"guilt by association."
"It is just
putting more of a spotlight on his wealth, and reinforcing the general picture
that the administration wants to convey that Romney, because he is rich, is out
There is no
doubt that Romney is rich. According to David Friedman, chief of research firm
Wealth-X, Romney is likely among the 3,140 richest individuals in the United
for the Romney campaign, in key swing states like Ohio nearly 50% of
those polled believe he is too out of touch to be president.
show he is "not paying his share" would only fuel that sentiment.
could also reveal details of Bain deals or other investment that are
politically difficult to explain.
has been speculation that he invested in firms that disposed of unborn fetuses,
sent jobs overseas, sold arms to dodgy regimes and banks that helped fuel the
reveal that Romney, a devout Mormon did not tithe his 10% to the church.
risks, the pressure is mounting on Romney to show his hand.
what the Obama people have been praying for," former Republican-party
chairman, Haley Barbour told the National Review. "He ought to release his
But in taking the bat out of Obama's hand, will Romney only to replace it with a larger more punishing version?
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