Congressional Insiders: Thanks, But No Thanks on Releasing Their Tax Returns
As the debate over Mitt Romney's tax returns has swirled, some prominent members of Congress, led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have been vocal critics of Romney's refusal to release more years of returns.
But Pelosi herself has brushed aside releasing her own returns. "When I run for president of the United States, you can hold me to that standard," she told reporters.
She's got plenty of congressional company in taking that position.
Every Republican and nearly two-thirds of Democrats surveyed in National Journal's latest Congressional Insiders poll said that members of Congress should not have to release any of tax their tax returns.
Given the debate over Mitt Romney's taxes, should members of Congress have to release some of their returns?
"Members of Congress already have little financial privacy and spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to comply with vague and voluminous ethics requirements," said one Republican. "All this would do is increase the amount of [opposition] research in the world. Not a step forward for democracy."
Chimed in a Democrat: "I think we have gone too far. I shudder to think what America would be like if we had disqualified Roosevelt, Washington, Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy -- they certainly would not have released their personal information."
Several Democrats agreed with Pelosi. "Only when or if we run for president," one said.
Not everyone agreed. "Members of Congress are the ones who actually write and vote on tax law, they should release their tax returns," said a Democrat in favor of releasing returns.
Republicans mostly view the tax-releasing debate as a distraction and that current disclosure forms, which report income in broad categories, are sufficient.