August 1st, 2012

Of course, Harry Reid’s tax returns are an open book


[Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi]…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.

The widespread secrecy in one branch of the government suggests a self-imposed double standard. Yet while American politics has come to expect candidates for the presidency to release their tax returns, the president isn’t alone in having a say over the nation’s tax laws. Congress also stands to gain or lose by the very tax policies it enacts, and tax records – more than any broad financial disclosure rules now in place – offer the chance to see whether the leaders of the government stand to benefit from their own actions…

To Pelosi and some other top Democrats, the focus is on Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, who’s released his 2010 return and 2011 estimates and plans to release his 2011 return when it’s completed, but refuses to release any more. They say the very refusal to release more suggests that he’s hiding something.

“He could not even become a Cabinet member for that lack of disclosure, and now with that lack of disclosure he wants to be president of the United States,” said Pelosi, the House minority leader, who’s from California.

Apparently, though, he could become Speaker of the House or Senate Majority Leader.

Romney’s defense has been that he’s released everything he’s required to, and more—and funny thing, that’s the defense of Pelosi and Reid as well (except for the “and more” part):

[Pelosi, Reid, and Wasserman-Schultz] 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…

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.

What’s required by law is written by Congress itself, a broad financial-disclosure statement that offers no direct information on tax liabilities and no requirement for reporting spousal income other than the source – but not the amount – of any income above $1,000. There’s little way of knowing whether that spousal income is $1,001 or $1 million…

When it comes to the valuation of investments or reporting of income on the annual disclosure forms, what’s required are broad numbers such as between $250,000 and $500,000 or $1 million and $5 million. That makes it hard to determine how much benefit a lawmaker might get from competing tax plans.

“They just don’t provide the same level of detail as a tax return,” said Darrell West, a specialist on governing and a vice president of the Brookings Institution, a center-left research center in Washington.

Most members won’t release that kind of detail.

The hypocrisy is staggering, but hardly surprising.

10 Responses to “Of course, Harry Reid’s tax returns are an open book”

  1. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Just as Rep. Paul Ryan represents the best that our Representative democracy can achieve, Reid, Pelosi, et al personify all that is wrong with our system. That level of hypocrisy should immediately disqualify them from office.

    That it does not and they continue to be reelected is a damning indictment of the average voters acumen. In all fairness though, the MSM will withhold from the public awareness of this hypocrisy, a determinative factor for continued support from independents.

  2. Curtis Says:

    RL really tore into Reid today. Dingy Harry, he calls him, I guess as a pun of Dirty Harry. He’s not the caliber of a Dirty Harry, anti-hero, anti-establishment, but definitely a good guy.

    I’m not sure why it’s the business of someone what another person makes. I don’t think it is and the burden of proof should be on the requester not the producer.

    Why should Romney even release one year of his tax returns? I very much stand by Romney’s refusal to produce and wish he would refuse to produce any at all.

    The hypocrisy extends to another area as well. If privacy is so important and sacred that the unborn are denied their right to life, then what is the problem with a simple tax return. How can they demand the violation of privacy for a tax return and assert it when so much more is at stake?

  3. thomass Says:

    This is the clown who went on live TV to say ‘who who is talking about reconciliation’ right before passing the ‘health care reform bill’ (another load of bs in the name) using reconciliation rules? People ought to turn their backs on him / refuse to speak to him just over that…

  4. Pat Says:

    Of course, the real question is how Harry Reid become a multimillionaire when he’s only ever worked in the government. Sorry, silly question. Someone explained it already:

    “Yeah, the permanent political class – they’re doing just fine. Ever notice how so many of them arrive in Washington, D.C. of modest means and then miraculously throughout the years they end up becoming very, very wealthy? Well, it’s because they derive power and their wealth from their access to our money – to taxpayer dollars. They use it to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners – the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70% of the jobs in America, it’s you who own these small businesses, you’re the economic engine, but you don’t grease the wheels of government power.”

  5. Wm Lawrence Says:

    I think we should stop calling it crony capitalism. It has nothing to do with capitalism. It is pure corruption and should be known and punished as such.

    Calling it crony capitalism only serves to taint the word capitalism with the stink of political corruption.

  6. Then and Now « Innocent Bystanders Says:

    […] not when you run for Senate, apparently.  Or when you’re a Democrat running for President.  That second link is just […]

  7. Raj Says:

    Good job Romney, make your supporters pay a price in terms of their personal integrity for supporting a gutter crook and liar like you. I would support you 100% in that. Expose your supporters .

    Harry Reid is not his opponent , Mr Obama is and Harry Reid should release his tax returns , if he has not released them.

    Any politician, democrat or Republican, should release their 10-12 year tax returns or be open to charge that they are hiding shameful facts and open to the charge of being a crook.

    If you want to be a public servant , you have to disclose your tax returns

  8. ed Says:

    Harry Reid’s sons are very high paid Washington lobbyists.

    I wonder what they are selling, a meeting with daddy or a vote ? Does daddy get a percentage ?

  9. Obama and his Sealed records. | OPINIONROCKER Says:

    […] Romney and his paying of taxes. will show that he has paid more than enough. Meaning, he has been taxed upwards of 4-5 times in different forms before he knows what he gets to keep. Harry Reids tax return are a no show!! […]

  10. Lynne Says:

    It’s time to replace ALL the crooks and cronies in DC. We need to take back our country in the voting booth. Every dishonest elected official should NOT be reelected.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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