LANCASTER, N.H. –- Mitt Romney said on Thursday that he has no plans at this time to release his income-tax returns, prompting President Obama’s reelection campaign to blast the former Massachusetts governor for not hewing to tradition for presidential candidates.
Interest in Romney’s tax situation has been piqued by a New York Times story this week that Romney continued to receive profits from his private-equity firm Bain Capital through February 2009, a decade after leaving the firm. Because much of that money could be considered “carried interest,” it would be eligible for 15 percent tax rate on capital gains rather than the 35 percent that the wealthy typically pay on income.
“I can tell you we follow the tax laws, and if there's an opportunity to save taxes, we like anybody else in this country will follow that opportunity,” Romney told reporters. “But we don't have any current plans to release tax returns. But never say never; we'll see what the future holds.”
That provoked a response from Obama for America spokesman Ben LaBolt accusing Romney of favoring “secrecy over openness.” Although federal law does not obligate Romney to disclose details of his investments, candidates in the past often have done so either voluntarily or after being requested to do so.
"By declaring that, if nominated, he would not release his income-tax returns, Mitt Romney is defying a practice to which every party nominee, Republican and Democrat, has adhered for decades,” the campaign said in a statement. “Even his father, [former Michigan Gov.] George Romney, disclosed his tax returns when he ran for president in 1968. Why does Gov. Romney feel like he can play by a different set of rules?”