House party leaders acknowledged Thursday they don’t release their own tax returns — even though GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney faces sharp pressure to do so. But Republican Speaker John Boehner insisted Mr. Romney’s records are his own business, while Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said presidential candidates face a tougher standard than members of Congress.
Mrs. Pelosi back-pedaled on previous comments that Mr. Romney’s refusal to make his tax record public made him unfit to be president, saying Thursday that the issue is something to be resolved between Republicans and the American public — not Democrats.
“The American people are the judges of that,” she said. “The longer he takes to release them doesn’t make me sad.”
A recent report by McClatchy Newspapers found that just 17 out of 535 members of Congress have released their tax returns, including Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Boehner.
Mrs. Pelosi drew a distinction between running for president and running for Congress, pointing to the tradition of presidential candidates releasing their returns and promising to do so if she ever runs for president.
“When I run for president of the United States, you can hold me to that standard,” the California Democrat said.
But Mr. Boehner said no candidate — no matter what position they’re running for — should face such pressure, saying each person’s returns are their “own private business.”
“It’s a sideshow created because the president can’t talk about his record,” Mr. Boehner said. “He can’t go out and run on his record so he’s got to create these sideshows to try to distract the American people about the real issue that they’re concerned about.”
• Sean Lengell contributed to this report.