Hey Congress, Where Are Your Tax Returns?

So as everybody jumps down Mitt Romney’s throat for not releasing more than a couple of years’ worth of tax returns, McClatchy finds Congress members reluctant to provide even their most recent records:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi was emphatic. Mitt Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of his personal tax returns, she said, makes him unfit to win confirmation as a member of the president’s Cabinet, let alone to hold the high office himself.

Sen. Harry Reid went farther: Romney’s refusal to make public more of his tax records makes him unfit to be a dogcatcher.

They do not, however, think that standard of transparency should apply to them. The two Democratic leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives are among hundreds of senators and representatives from both parties who refused to release their tax records. Just 17 out of the 535 members of Congress released their most recent tax forms or provided some similar documentation of their tax liabilities in response to requests from McClatchy over the last three months. Another 19 replied that they wouldn’t release the information, and the remainder never responded to the query.

Congress members have to file disclosure reports, but the information lacks much of the detail provided by tax records. Nevertheless, when challenged, Congress members scurried quickly to the familiar “No, it’s different with us because …” excuse used to try to wriggle out of a hypocritical position that exists for the purpose of achieving political points rather than taking an actual moral or ethical stand:

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, also has harangued Romney for refusing to release more tax returns, calling it a “penchant for secrecy.”

All three refused repeated requests from McClatchy to release their own returns, requests that started before the flap over Romney’s records.

Pelosi aides refused, saying she’s disclosed all that Congress requires.

“The leader has filed a complete financial disclosure report as required by law that includes financial holdings, transactions and other personal information,” Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said. “There has been no question about where Leader Pelosi and Democrats stand on tax policy: We must extend the middle-class tax cuts and end tax breaks for millionaires and use the revenues to pay down the deficit.”

Challenged at a recent news conference to release hers, Wasserman Schultz said she wouldn’t because she wasn’t running for president. “I file full financial disclosure required under the law,” she said.

So Romney isn’t breaking any laws, but he should release more tax records because of transparency, but Congress members shouldn’t because the law doesn’t require it? Romney was critcized when he complained that the tax records would be used for opposition research, but it’s fairly apparent now it’s the only reason people want to see them.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Can we just stipulate all of these people make a shitload of money. Class warfare, what is it good for?

  • Abdul||

    As a compromise, Romney could at least release a youtube video of him swimming in a vault of gold bullion, since it's clear that the only reaosn to see his tax returns is to play the "He's ritchie-rich" card.

  • Contrarian P||

    Her flack actually refers to her as "The Leader". Sounds either like she's a nemesis of the Hulk or that she's the reincarnation of Kim Il Sung. Either one would explain a hell of a lot.

  • Brutus||

    It makes more sense when you say it in German.

  • Joe R.||

    It's nice than "Granny Botox".

  • ||

    Emperor Palpatine would be pleased at the amount of hate for these people that flows through me. Good thing I'm fixin to go have an adult beverage in a few minutes.

  • Joe R.||

    Thanks for the reminder that I need to stop by the store on the way home.

  • The Craig||

    Of course, if more returns were provided to Pelosi and company, without seeking outside help they would have no idea what to do with it.

  • fried wylie||

    JOBS!

  • fried wylie||

    "Mitt Romney hates Jobs."

  • sticks||

    Don't we all? Free shit forever!!!!!

  • The Craig||

    When I talk about tax reform to friends, the first response is usually "If taxes were simple, you wouldn't have a job!" When I respond that I will figure something else out, I just get blank stares.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Rep. Nancy Pelosi was emphatic. Mitt Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of his personal tax returns, she said, makes him unfit to win confirmation as a member of the president’s Cabinet, let alone to hold the high office himself.

    She actually went there? Where's Epi to go off on partisans?

  • SugarFree||

    We have him in his recovery tank. He'll be decanted soon.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Is he a ghola or a clone from a growth on someone's back?

  • IceTrey||

    He's a teratoma.

  • ||

    That's better. I feel so refreshed.

    I'm too decanted to bother going off on Pelosi. She's so fucking ludicrously stupid that I don't need to.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Tim Geithner is still trying to figure out the turbotax program. He'll get those tax returns out real soon.

  • ||

    as a cop, i had to go through tons of very intensive background etc. checks

    they will actually fly out ofc's to your neighborhood and interview neighbors, school teachers you had, etc.

    at least 3 different psych tests, treadmill stress test, urinalysis, etc.

    but they never asked for tax returns!

    many agencies now also require applicants to allow access to the applicant's facebook page and other media. politically incorrect comments = no hire

  • ||

    and of course polygraph

  • sloopyinca||

    That's all it takes to get a Double-O License to Kill in the Pacific Northwest?

    Just kidding. What I meant to say is: Nobody cares!

  • ||

    yet, you cared enough to comment. sloopy, the bigot who deigns to speak for the huddled unawshed masses

    and of course, everybody cares about his posts.

    jesus.

  • ||

    also, pretty sad how you are so small and bitter that you always have to be on attack mode with me. it's just sad you are consumed with so much hate.

    seriously. let it go.

    grow up. and remember, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

    you treat others with respect you get it back. spread love, not hate. smooches!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I, too, could care less about your background checks. I do note, in the few weeks I have been around here, that your posts are rather...dunphy-centric.
    You attacking someone who seems to be well regarded around these pages is a bit of a fart in the middle of church too.

  • sloopyinca||

    it's just sad you are consumed with so much hate.

    Only when it comes to people who laugh at those who are killed under dubious circumstances by cops, such as the guy in Florida the other day.

    you treat others with respect you get it back.

    Yeah, I'm fine with my reputation around here. I have the respect of those I wish it from, and they have mine in return. That typically doesn't include people that say, "the cops weren't obligated to identify themselves. the idiot got what he had coming. good shoot." So, fuck off.

  • ||

    How can hating cops be bigoted?

    Are cops now an ethnic group all their own?

    Can we hate politicians or is that bigoted as well? How about bureaucrats?

  • Loki||

    Members of congress are hypocritical diaper stains. Also, sky is blu, grass is green, Sun rises in East, etc.

  • BC||

    Standard-issue, "But it's different when we do it," response from Tony in 3... 2... 1...

  • Auric Demonocles||

    "Well obviously Congress doesn't have to release their tax forms. That's completely different than the Presidency. And obviously college transcripts are irrelevant too."

  • LTC(ret) John||

    And medical records.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said. “There has been no question about where Leader Pelosi and Democrats stand on tax policy: We must extend the middle-class tax cuts and end tax breaks for millionaires and use the revenues to pay down the deficit.”

    Best line in the article...pure unadulterated bullshit for your consumption.

  • The Craig||

    An extra $80 billion a year will close that $1 trillion + deficit in no time!

  • ||

    He should do something like Sarah Palin did with her emails. Release all of them, single space typed on recipe cards. In Chinese.

  • ||

    Better yet, put them in fortune cookies.

    "Standard deduction for home in Massachusetts. And your best days are behind you."

  • ant1sthenes||

    Put them in a box in escrow and legally authorize a neutral third party to open the box and make them public when Pelosi and Reed make their full returns available for X years, and when all of the cabinet members and WH aides pay off their back taxes.

  • sloopyinca||

    Romney needs to bang the drum of hypocrisy on this and point our that it is purely political. Just watch the Team Blue Congresscritters (and Team Red ones as well) start shitting their pants when they start getting drilled by their fall opponents on this issue.

    As a matter of fact, an enterprising Congresscritter with some scruples ought to put forth a bill requiring disclosure of all tax records for a decade for anyone running for federal office. That would expose the crooks and cheats for what they really are.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    There is such an animal. They're only concerned about presidential candidates though:
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-G.....ax-Returns

  • LTC(ret) John||

    A perfect time for the ol' amendment process to rise up and change a couple of words to "any federal office".

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Rep. Nancy Pelosi was emphatic. Mitt Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of his personal tax returns, she said, makes him unfit to win confirmation as a member of the president’s Cabinet, let alone to hold the high office himself.

    Really? Really? REALLY?! Is this the same Nancy Pelosi who was accused, less than a year ago, of insider trading on the 2008 Visa IPO?

    And Harry Reid, aka Senator "Ethics? What are those?" who made $1.1 million off the sale of land he didn't own, but reported to Congress as a personal sale?

    America: Where the corrupt lead the blind, who in turn lead the stupid.

  • IceTrey||

    That's why the congress critters don't want to release their returns. They will show how much more money they have made since being elected.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I wish our newspeople were more cynical and hateful, such that when they reported these stories, they would just throw in shit like that as an aside to remind everyone what worthless pieces of shit most people in D.C. are.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    That would violate their professional duty to protect and promote politicians.

  • ||

    Dems election strategy sure is hitting a lot of road blocks this July.

  • TindWeee||

    This makes no sense to me at all man, None.

    www.New-Anon.tk

  • R C Dean||

    Jeebus. This should be the easiest election ever.

    The Dems can't run on their record. So they have to attack Romney. But their attacks apply equally to themselves.

    (1) Dems attack Romney.

    (2) Romney responds "tu quoque"/hypocrisy.

    (3) Dems look like fools. Romney looks like guy being plagued by fools.

    (3) Repeat ad infinitum.

    (4) Win election.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement