published Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Romney's tax-dodge dance

Is Mitt Romney refusing to reveal his income tax records because, as CEO of Bain Capital in 1999, he participated in purchasing a big share of Stericycle, a huge medical-waste disposal company that has come under attack by anti-abortion groups and charges by two states of wrongly disposing of aborted fetuses in landfills?

Romney's signature on Bain documents as its CEO and the company's sole investor among partners in the $75 million Stericycle deal has resulted in reports that he reaped millions from Bain's $55 million in profits on its share of the Stericycle purchase, which made Bain the largest stockholder in the company. Romney won't comment on the reports. And his campaign just keeps saying, without confirming documents, that Romney relinquished his role in running Bain months before the Stericycle purchase.

Yet Romney continues to draw millions of dollars in yearly income from Bain -- some through his Bain-related tax-sheltered accounts in the Cayman Islands -- and his name remained on the books as CEO, chairman and president of Bain and some affiliated companies in documents submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission into 2002.

Profits from abortions?

So has he reaped handsome profits from abortions? And did he make executive decisions to offshore jobs from companies that Bain controlled, as the Washington Post has reported, in the years that Romney now says he wasn't actually leading Bain?

Romney won't reveal the income tax documents that would concretely answer these questions.

Nor will he say how much in income and tax-avoidance deals he has put through his dozens of known accounts in the Caymans, Switzerland, Luxembourg -- all tax shelter havens -- and others in Germany, Ireland and Australia. And he won't reveal the documents that would answer those questions. No wonder Wall Street is helping bankroll his campaign: He's their kind of guy. Plus, he promises to undo banking reforms designed to prevent another Wall Street bubble and crash.

The public can't learn concrete answers to Romney's financial links, because Romney refuses -- as he did again Thursday -- to release copies of his income tax returns during and since his years as head of Bain Capital and related spin-off companies, including Bain Capital Partners VI, Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors and Brookside Capital Investors. Read more here.

These and other questions will continue to haunt Romney's veracity, character and political goals until he fully discloses his income tax records. American voters deserve to know what kind of person they will elect as president in November, and how honest or deceitful he has been in responding to questions about how he accumulated his fortune, widely estimated at a quarter of a billion dollars. Voters also deserve to know whether or not he has dodged taxes that he should have paid, and whether he fairly treated employees of companies that Bain purchased -- and, in some cases, raided assets, offshored jobs and bankrupted.

Among other questions raised by reputable reports due to Romney's refusal to reveal his income taxes are:

• Has Romney always tithed his promised 10 percent to the Mormon Church, as he claims, or has he shorted his church?

• Has Romney understated the value of his large investments in his IRA accounts and of his gifts to his children?

• Has Romney properly reported his federal and state taxable income or illegally or questionably evaded due taxes?

• Has Romney gone some or many years without paying any federal income taxes on his accumulated wealth and investments, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has claimed?

• Has Romney violated any federal laws or committed any felonies relating to financial disclosure forms that he has been required to provide to the Federal Election Commission?

These are just speculative questions, of course. But they they are serious to some precisely because Romney chooses not to disclose his tax records. He obviously would rather have critical skepticism taint his campaign, than reveal his tax records. That says a lot in and of itself: He's making the political gamble that stonewalling against such speculation is safer than revealing the facts. Umm...

Then he said Thursday that questions about this failure to disclose his income tax records prompted him to go back and check his records and see what percentage of federal income taxes he has paid. And guess what, he said: His review showed him that he had always paid at least 13 percent in taxes -- never mind that that figure is well below the 25-percent-and-higher range that many in the nation's top 2 percent of earners who are not multimillionaires pay.

Where's Romney's proof?

Regardless, where's the proof? Given Romney's known use of offshore tax havens and tax avoidance tactics, he cannot reasonably expect the nation to believe something that he is unwilling to prove by showing his income tax records.

His defiant refusal is unacceptable. It makes him the first presidential aspirant in decades to resist releasing his tax records. It conflicts directly with the standard that his father, George Romney, set for full disclosure 35 years ago in his bid for the presidency. And it suggests that Romney really is hiding something, or many somethings, that he doesn't want Americans to know. Why else wouldn't he reveal his records?

As his wife, Ann Romney, told NBC Thursday, he will not provide his tax records because that would simply provide "ammunition" for Democrats. That, of course, is essentially an admission that he has something to hide. It's all the more reason to demand disclosure of his tax records before the November election. Until he discloses his records, his word has no credibility.

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nucanuck said...

The best face we can put on Romney's lack of disclosure is that, though legal, his tax returns would be politically damaging by revealing how the tax code can be advantaged by high income people. Most Americans would be sickened to know the forms and degree of tax avoidance that have been made legal for those with high incomes.

America should be appalled that anyone with millions in income could pay only 13% in Federal taxes. Clearly Congress rewrote our tax code with a bias in favor of those who have the ability to write the biggest checks.

We are living within a system that has been corrupted to it's very core.

August 18, 2012 at 1:28 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Good points, nucanuck. I really don't think many conservatives would be that appalled, though, even if his records revealed outright tax cheating and dodging. In fact, they would probably rush to his defense and claim that, as a "job creator," he shouldn't be paying any taxes anyway!

It says a lot about Republicans/conservatives that they are completely indifferent as to how the wealthy and big business make their money. They think that just the making of it is virtuous enough. To them it is better to make money dishonorably than it is to be honorably poor. Romney knows that he will not lose any Republican votes by refusing to reveal his tax records because Republicans have no integrity anyway. Money is all the integrity they know. The ones who don't have money themselves worship those who do. On the contrary, what his tax records would reveal if he made them public would probably be so damaging as to disqualify him from running.

The man is a sleazy lying flip-flopping filthy-rich hypocrite and has no integrity whatsoever. Just the sort of Republican candidate today's conservatives adore.

August 18, 2012 at 2:15 a.m.
nucanuck said...

JonRoss,

If a man's income is $10 Million and he pays 13% tax while the next man's income is $100 Thousand and he pays 26% tax, how can you say that you are OK with that? During the decades after WWII, America's best decades for overall prosperity, the tax rates went up as your income rose. There was growing prosperity throughout the land. Class warfare was not a common topic.

In the early 1980s, that all began to change. Tax reform packages created more and more ways for the highest income earners to reduce their effective tax rate. Average incomes began to stagnate and high incomes soared into the stratosphere.

During that same period, Congress spent more than it taxed by ever growing margins. The country grew poorer, the middle and lower income workers became poorer while only those at the top enjoyed massive gains in wealth. The tax code created an imbalance so great that now the whole country is sick and failing. How can you possibly defend that?

I'm not supporting either candidate, I'm in favor of correcting what ails America and the tax code is an affront to fainess. Romney's taxes are an issue because they point out the short-comings in our tax code. That's why we should all care about this issue.

August 18, 2012 at 10:08 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

"Who gives a rats rump about what Mitt Romney did with his taxes if it was was legal. And if they were not legal Mr. Obama would have already sent the IRS and FBI after him." - JonRoss

JR has just proven my point about the indifference of conservatives as to whether Romney cheated on his taxes or not. To them the most important thing is that he made the money, not whether he is honorable and telling us the truth.

I said in my earlier post that Republicans lack integrity, and for the most part that is true. But it's truer still to say that they lack common sense. They are incapable of seeing that they vote against their own best interests. You have to have common sense to have integrity. Conservatives say they are for individual freedom and limited government but the very people they vote for are intent on limiting the freedoms of the average working person so that they can enlarge the freedoms for the ultra rich and big business. Furthermore, the super-rich are not the least bit interested in shrinking government; they just want government to do whatever is in their personal interest. They have the lower class Republicans so dumbed down and hypnotized by their patriotic talk and righteous calls for individual freedom and small government that the little people who fawn all over them like groupies are not aware of their own blindness and dumbness.

August 18, 2012 at 11:31 a.m.
Easy123 said...

JonRoss,

You are delusional and full of baseless hyperbole.

August 18, 2012 at 12:47 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"You can seize the assests of every millionaire and billionaire and it wouldn't begin to solve our fiscal issues." - JR

I don't want to resort to name calling but people like you, JR, make it really, really difficult for someone not to fling the idiot word at you.

Nobody - not Obama, not liberals like me, not even self-proclaimed socialists like Bernie Sanders - is calling for seizing the assets of millionaires and billionaires! All we are asking for are sensible tax rates that would help generate some much needed revenue, not only to bring down the deficit but to create some economic balance for everyone. Of course that's not going to solve the deficit problem overnight but it would go a long way towards bringing it down in the long run. A sensible tax rate would not be "stealing" from the wealthy, as you conservatives always whine; nor would it be "redistributing" the wealth from the makers to the takers. It would simply be a fair, common sense approach and one of many pieces to the economic puzzle to restore some fiscal sanity.

But you always want to cry "socialism" or "marxism" or "collectivism." Aren't your knees getting sore or tired from all those knee-jerk reactions you keep having?

August 18, 2012 at 3:09 p.m.
nucanuck said...

JonRoss,

Your talk about class warfare misses the point. Are you defending lower effective tax rates for the very rich? Why should they pay a lower percentage than the rest of us? I am nearly rich, why should I pay a higher rate than those that make more than I? Short answer...I shouldn't.

Class warfare may come into play when the masses are hungry and can clearly see unfairness in the system. That's why we should shift back toward the tax system that worked well pre-1980. We still had rich and poor, but the extremes weren't so great. More people felt like they had a chance at the American dream.

If we continue as we are, the dream will end for us all. We can see the signs everywhere...America is dying and the process seems to be accellerating.

Take a good hard look at the number of people who are sinking even while working hard. Many of those people are well educated types who never missed work and still find themselves unable to make it.

Surely you don't believe all that junk you spew out about socialists and such.

August 18, 2012 at 4:16 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

JR...For god's sake, man, who is saying that Romney revealing his tax returns would "solve our economic woes??" I went back and re-read what I posted, just to be sure, and nope...I neither said nor implied any such thing. Furthermore, I have not seen or heard any liberal that I know of saying or implying such a thing - ever. Tell me, where do you pull these ideas from anyway? Do they just randomly float through that inky space in your mind and you nab them as they come along and you make sentences out of them?? Really, I want to know.

Romney is running for President of the United States of America, the highest office in the country. Most of us citizens, whether liberal or conservative or something in between, would like to be assured that everything about the guy is on the up and up, the straight and narrow. I think it's important to know whether he cheated on his income taxes or not. If everything is above board, as he claims, then end of discussion, let's move on. But if it is indicative that he cheated or dodged anything illegally, we need to know that. That would be a felony. And the last time I checked, there's some kind of law on the books that doesn't allow for felons to be president. Now, I know that even if Romney were shown to have cheated on his taxes, that probably wouldn't matter to you teabaggers anyway, but I remain hopeful that most Americans will not sink or succumb to your low-level mindset and standards.

August 18, 2012 at 4:44 p.m.
shen said...

Search: 1. Bain Capitol possible ties to Salvador death squads.

  1. Through Bain Capitol, investment ties to stericycle. A firm investigated for possible improper disposal of aborted fetuses collected from family planning clinics. pro-life? yeah right!
August 18, 2012 at 5:50 p.m.

There is class warfare, and it is the rich upon the rest of us. And it's not even factual. With the top 1% owning over a third of the nation's assets, which total over sixty trillion, we could easily resolve the debt we have built up thanks to them.

And Russia in 1917 was the result of an unfair and exploitative system. They reaped the fruits of what they sowed. Don't confuse yourself with presentation though. A false representation of equality was the story of the Soviet Union and Cuba. Much like the Tsar represented himself as the noble leader of Russia, or the Confederacy represented themselves as defending liberty. What you purport to be is not necessarily what you are.

Which leads us into this editorial's subject, which is about understanding the person who has asked us to vote for him based on his record. Are we not supposed to look at it? Are we just supposed to take his word because of who he is?

Mitt Romney's father knew better. I swear, his son must be trying to lose.

Keep trying to distract us JonRoss, it will only show what is really going on.

August 18, 2012 at 6:16 p.m.
tderng said...

Rickaroo said...Romney is running for President of the United States of America, the highest office in the country. Most of us citizens, whether liberal or conservative or something in between, would like to be assured that everything about the guy is on the up and up, the straight and narrow.

You know,that's kinda the way conservatives feel about Obama's college transcripts.What does he have to hide?Where oh where did this poor kid get the money to go to these very expensive universities?Did he misrepresent himself? Did he perhaps sign up as a foreign exchange student?I don't believe he was born outside the U.S. but he may very well have lied on his application.

August 18, 2012 at 7:55 p.m.
Lr103 said...

It's long been common practice to expect candidates to release their tax returns. Can't say I recall any request for a candidate to release school or college records. If you're going to request one then it should apply across board to both present and past politicians, especially those who got elected. It would be interesting to see the colleege transcripts of Bush Jr.

You don't have to be wealthy or a foreign exchange student to go to expensive universities in America. There are other ways to qualify.

August 18, 2012 at 10:05 p.m.

Sorry, tderng, but your attempts to get college transcripts are not and never have been legitimate, just like the birth certificate brouhaha you wouldn't even accept them anyway.

Recent tax reports? Reasonable. They show what you've been doing money-wise, especially important for somebody running on a business record. College records? Not unless you're asking for a scholarship or research grant related to that. Frankly, I think any presidential candidate who appealed to their college record directly as a reason to vote for them would be demonstrating why not to vote forthem, and I think your insistence on them, even if it were not a sham, would be a good reason not to listen your demands.

Much like McCarthy's inqusitions, the only thing it says is who to ignore. Maybe one day you'll even be able to tell the difference and why your demands lack legitimacy. Or more likely, you'll stubbornly resist the idea.

August 18, 2012 at 10:34 p.m.
jesse said...

Actually ,going by his job performance, i don't think Barrack even graduated from high school!!PROVE HE DID!!!(complements of easy 123!)lol

August 19, 2012 at 1:16 p.m.

Birthers didn't believe the birth announcement, why would they believe the graduation one?

August 19, 2012 at 1:40 p.m.
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