The list of prominent Republicans calling for their likely presidential nominee to release multiple years of his tax returns is long, and it's growing. Mitt Romney said again this week that he will disclose only his 2010 returns and those for 2011 when they are complete. But that did not end calls for him to release earlier years' returns, in the interest of making his personal finances more transparent for the public.
Throughout the day on Wednesday and for the rest of the week, National Journal will provide an up-to-date list of Republicans calling for Mitt Romney to release additional tax returns.
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa: The Des Moines Register reported on Wednesday that Grassley said Romney "Shouldn’t have to do anything more that any other presidential candidate has done, and if other presidential candidates have done more than he has now, then he ought to do more." Grassley is a senior member on the Senate Committee on Finance, which deals with tax issues.
Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana: CBS reported on Wednesday that the longtime Indiana senator said he released a number of his tax returns during his presidential run in 1996. He added that it would be "prudent" for Romney to release more years of his returns. "I have no idea on why he has restricted the number to this point," Lugar said.
Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine: Snowe said releasing returns is "probably more preferable in answering some of the questions, but that’s a decision he has to make ... If it becomes an issue that he can’t move beyond in his own campaign, then obviously it would be important to determine to what extent he can release more,” according to The Hill on Tuesday.
Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia: Isakson told The Hill on Tuesday that Romney "has lots of advisers. The last thing he needs is a chorus of them, but transparency usually works.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry: Perry told the Associated Press on Tuesday, "I’m a big believer that no matter who you are, or what office you’re running for, you should be as transparent as you can be with your tax returns and other aspects of your life so that people have the appropriate ability to judge your background and what have you.... I think anyone running for office, if they get asked within reason to give people background about what they have been doing, including tax returns, should do that."
Rep. Ron Paul of Texas: "Politically, I think that would help him.... In the scheme of things politically, you know, it looks like releasing tax returns is what the people want," the former presidential candidate told Politico on Tuesday.
Fox News commentator Brit Hume: "Any time it’s an issue between disclosure and nondisclosure, you always wonder whether it’s better just to put it out there," Hume told Bill O'Reilly on Monday night.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley: Bentley told ABC News on Monday, "I just believe in total transparency.... In fact, I was asked today that question — do you think that Governor Romney should release his tax returns? And I said I do. I said, I release my tax returns. I may be the only public official in Alabama that does, but I release mine every year, and I just believe that people should release their tax returns. And if you get them out and just get past that, it just makes it so much easier."
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour: "He ought to release his returns," Barbour told National Review on Monday. "Any time this campaign’s conversation is not about President Obama’s failed policies ... then the [Romney] campaign isn’t talking about the right thing.... You would think this is the only thing happening in the campaign, which is why Romney needs to put it behind him. It’s a distraction, and he needs to get back to what matters." Barbour is also a former Republican National Committee chairman.
Conservative writer and commentator William Kristol: "He should release the tax returns tomorrow. It's crazy. You got to release six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two. Then give a serious speech on Thursday ... about capitalism," the editor of The Weekly Standard said on Fox News on Sunday.
Bush-era adviser Matthew Dowd: The former adviser to George W. Bush said on ABC's This Week on Sunday, "I think the bigger thing is, it's arrogance. Many of these politicians think, 'I can do this. I can get away with this. I don't need to do this, because I'm going to say something and I don't have to do this.' And that in the end is the problem...." Dowd responded to disagreement from conservative commentator Mary Matalin by saying, "Mary, you know, if that was you, [if] I said that's truth serum in that cup, and you were advising a candidate like Mitt Romney in this instance, you would say, 'We've got to get this out there.' You would say, 'We've got to get this out there to deal with this.' "
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