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Romney Camp Tries to Preempt Tax-Return Criticism Romney Camp Tries to Preempt Tax-Return Criticism

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CAMPAIGN 2012

Romney Camp Tries to Preempt Tax-Return Criticism

Mitt Romney's campaign sought on Tuesday to put its best face on the release of Romney's 2010 and 2011 income-tax returns, citing the ex-Massachusetts governor's compliance with all tax laws while trying to preempt President Obama from making political hay of the release.

Romney's tax forms show he made $21.7 million in 2010 and paid $3 million in federal taxes, a rate of just under 14 percent. The majority of Romney's income came from investments--$12.6 million in capital gains, $3.3 million in interest, and $4.9 million in regular dividends.

 

The 2011 estimated forms show that Romney made a total of $20.9 million last year, including $4.1 million in taxable interest, $3.1 million in dividends, and $10.7 million in capital gains. Romney will pay about $3.4 million in taxes this year.

In releasing the returns, the campaign included a statement from former IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg, noting that the Romneys have "fully satisfied their responsibilities as taxpayers." Goldberg was also included on a conference call with reporters to further make that case.

Campaign counsel Ben Ginsberg pointed out that 26 people on the conference call were from the Chicago area--the location of Obama's reelection headquarters. "That sort of sums up the state of play," he said.

 

Romney's tax forms show he had a bank account in Switzerland, which he closed in 2010, and accounts in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. All three places have reputations as offshore havens where the extremely wealthy keep their cash, sometimes to avoid paying taxes (although the campaign noted that Romney did pay taxes on those accounts).

Brad Malt, the trustee of the accounts, told reporters that he personally set up the Swiss account in 2003 for diversification purposes. He described it as "an ordinary bank account, nothing more, nothing less."

Malt and other campaign officials sought to stress the amount of money that Romney donated to charity, including the Mormon Church of which he is a member. Romney donated nearly $3 million to charitable causes in 2010 and more than $4 million in 2011, including at least $4.1 million to the church.

Romney said at Tuesday's debate that he was surprised by the degree to which Republicans have jumped on the issue of his tax returns. "I knew that was going to come from the Obama team. I understood that," he said. "We see that on the Left. I was surprised to see people in the Republican Party pick up the weapons of the Left and start using them to attack free enterprise. I think those weapons will be used against us. I think it's very unfortunate."

 
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