Harry Reid, the majority leader of the United States Senate - and a Mormon - just laid a devastating little trap for presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney - also a Mormon. Obviously, sharing the same faith will not be enough to save Romney from the cunning wiles of Reid.
For weeks Romney has been stonewalling on releasing more of his tax returns. So far he has released most, but not all, of his 2010 returns, and has promised to release his 2011 returns as soon as they are ready. And that is all. Mitt's people said that he is following the example set by Senator John McCain who released only two years of tax returns.
Mitt and Ann Romney paid just 13.9 percent in income taxes in 2010. He has stated that he does not recall if he ever paid less than that in previous years - but he would go back and look. He never did get back to the press and the public with that information.
Democrats have been quick to suggest that he would do better to follow the example of his own father, Governor George Romney of Michigan, who released twelve years of tax returns when he ran for president in 1968. George Romney said that it would not be fair to only release one year, because a return from one year might be a "fluke."
With Mitt continuing to keep his tax returns secret, Senator Reid just could not help himself. Today the wily senator from Nevada let it be known that a "Bain investor" had told him that there was a ten-year period where Mitt Romney paid absolutely no taxes. It's all anonymous, of course, and Senator Reid is not identifying his source - except that he is someone who was involved with Bain, Romney's capital investment group that ruined several American smaller companies and shipped numerous jobs overseas.
Senator Reid went on to invoke the specter of Romney's father, saying "His poor father must be so embarrassed by his son." Ouch. So far the Romney camp has snapped back about Reid being so crude as to invoke the elder Romney, but there has been no denial about the story regarding the ten years of no taxes.
Mitt, this could be a huge political home run for you. Just release those tax returns and prove that the odious Senator Reid is lying. But if you keep stonewalling, many of us will assume the worst - that the presidential candidate of a major political party not only hides money in Swiss bank accounts, and takes advantage of of tax shelters in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands - but that he sucks millions of dollars out of the American economy and into his own pocket without paying any taxes at all - for a whole damned decade!
Put up or shut up - or pay up - like the rest of us common people have to do.