“Our disclosure is sufficient. We do not want to prevent some good people from running for office by intruding on their privacy, beyond what is now required. For president, more scrutiny is warranted.”
“I never have. Same rules apply for every citizen’s privacy. But if you expect to run for president, you should be expected to reveal more about yourself than the average citizen.”
“I don’t think that members of Congress should have to release their tax returns. But I choose to release mine. Let the voters reach their own conclusions.”
“Yes and no. If it becomes an issue in their campaigns, they would be wise to release some of them. Some of them may want to double-check their returns before releasing them to make sure they’re on the money.”
Given the debate over Mitt Romney’s taxes, should members of Congress have to release some of their returns?
Republicans (17 Votes)
“Members of Congress already have little financial privacy and spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to comply with vague and voluminous ethics requirements. All this would do is increase the amount of [opposition] research in the world. Not a step forward for democracy.”
“No, but if a member of Congress calls on a presidential candidate to release tax returns they should do the same. Case in point—Debbie Wasserman Schultz and [Nancy] Pelosi have both called on Romney to release his returns, but they refuse to do the same.”
“This is a waste-of-time distraction in a presidential race. We already have enough of those in Congress.”
“Members already submit a maze of reports on their personal finances. The only people who read them are political opponents and members of the media seeking to discredit members. Why provide these people with more ammunition and burden members with more requirements?”
“Current disclosure laws are more than adequate. Tax returns are intended for entirely different purposes and so would disclose too little in some areas (such as assets), and too much in other areas (exact wages of spouse). The disclosure forms used for members of Congress are designed for exactly the purpose of disclosing what might be a conflict of interest, so we should stick with them.”
“Substantively, not politically, what policy gain for the public is there? The financial disclosure already outlines sources of income, debts, assets, stock sales, boards, trusts, etc.”
“The Ethics Committee’s financial-disclosure process provides far more and better information about potential conflicts of interest than a tax return.”
“Between the financial disclosure and now the Stock Act, I think the public knows enough about members of Congress to make a judgment call.”
“The debate over Romney’s taxes is a distraction by President Obama because he has nothing to talk about and an abysmal record.”
This article appears in the July 28, 2012, edition of National Journal.