New Hampshire’s largest newspaper is calling on Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns, arguing that if he does not come clean about his personal financial history it could cost him precious votes come Election Day.
The editorial board of the Manchester Union Leader, an influential voice in conservative circles, argues point blank in Thursday’s paper that “if you want the job, you have to subject yourself to the scrutiny” — putting it in the same camp of Democrats — and some leading Republicans — who have urged the former Massachusetts governor to be more open.
“If Romney intends to win, he is going to have to make the tax forms public. This storm won’t go away. It will distract from his policy debate with Obama — and it will distract from Obama’s failures, providing the incumbent with the smokescreen he is attempting to create,” according to the editorial.
David Axelrod, a top political strategist for President Obama, immediately noted on Twitter: “Tough qs for Mitt in Manchester. … Thunder from Right on Romney’s refusal to disclose,” he wrote.
Brad Woodhouse, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, quickly emailed the editorial to reporters, noting: “And Romney thought he could escape the bipartisan calls for him to release his tax returns by hiding in overseas. No such luck,” he said.
Mr. Romney released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate for 2011, showing that the onetime equity capitalist earned $42.5 million almost entirely from investments the last the two years, while paying more than $6 million in federal taxes and donating more than $7 million to charitable organizations, particularly the Mormon Church.
They also revealed that his effective tax rate was 13.9 percent in 2010 and that Mr. Romney expected to pay an estimated rate of 15.4 percent on his 2011 income.
But Mr. Romney has said he would not release any more tax returns other than those two years, despite pressure from Mr. Obama, Democrats and conservative voices such as George Will to disclose his full tax history.