The Obama campaign and the press may be turning up the heat on Mitt Romney to release new information on tax returns, but the Republican presidential candidate has adamantly skirted the issue -- and continues to do -- to the point that his surrogates are simply telling the public to get over it.
Following a report in Vanity Fair magazine last week that said Romney used offshore transactions and accounts to hold assets and possibly gain tax benefits, Democrats have put increasing pressure on the GOP nominee to release additional tax records.
Romney already released his 2010 tax return and an estimate of his taxes for 2011 after being hounded by his competitors during the Republican primary season. The information didn't exactly help Romney's vulture capitalist reputation -- it turns out he made $45 million in income over two years (primarily from investments) and that his effective tax rate for 2010 was 13.9 percent. Those records also revealed his offshore holdings in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, in addition to investments held in Swiss bank accounts.
But now that speculation over Romney's personal finances are back in the news cycle, Romney -- just as he did during the primary -- is staying silent. For his part, Romney surrogate Sen. Lindsay Graham on Tuesday told reporters the Republican presidential candidate should not be criticized for taking advantage of off-shore tax havens because it's really American to avoid paying taxes, legally.
That's sure to fuel President Barack Obama's next campaign ad. On Tuesday, the campaign already released a video questioning Romney's finances.
In an interview with Iowa Radio on Tuesday, Romney said he does not manage his financial records but insisted his trustee follows all U.S. laws and makes appropriate tax payments.
All of them have been reported to the government, Romney said. There's nothing hidden there.
The shadow of George Romney has hung over his son's tax debacle. During his unsuccessful bid for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination, the elder Romney famously released 12 years of his tax returns, effectively setting the standard for future presidential candidates.
Back then, George Romney reportedly said he released so many records because only providing one or two tax returns can be misleading.
Both Obama and Biden have released more than a decade's worth of tax returns for public scrutiny, all of which are available online at the Tax History Project.