The Ohio Democratic Party Wednesday called on GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney to release his income tax returns before the Ohio Primary, which is set for March 6.
Historical footnote: According to our check of the 2008 election campaign, Mr. Obama released his tax returns on March 25,2008, which was 21 days after the Ohio Democratic primary election between him and Hillary Clinton (which she won).
Asked why Mr. Romney should be asked to do something that wasn't asked of Mr. Obama four years ago, ODP spokesman Andrew Zucker said, “President Obama was a sitting U.S. Senator in 2008 and the source of his income was not in question. He also filed yearly financial disclosures required of a U.S. Senator. On the other hand, Mitt Romney hasn't had a day job since he was Massachusetts Governor. He's worth something around a quarter-billion dollars, but no one knows exactly where his income comes from because he refuses to disclose it.”
Here's the text of the Ohio Democratic Party statement:
COLUMBUS – During this week’s Republican presidential debate in South Carolina, Mitt Romney doubled down on his refusal to commit to releasing his tax returns like every other Republican presidential candidate has done. “Time will tell,” Romney ambiguously declared, adding, “I’ll keep that open.” It wasn’t his first refusal either – just a month earlier he told NBC News reporter Chuck Todd, “I don’t intend to release the tax returns. I don’t.” Really Mitt?
For decades, presidents from both political parties have made their tax returns public so that voters know where they obtain their income and what they pay back. During President Obama’s 2008 presidential run, he released eight years’ worth of tax returns, and he has already released his complete tax return for 2010. So why then, won’t Mitt Romney release his? What is he trying to hide?
Maybe it’s that, according to Romney himself, he pays only “closer to the 15 percent” tax rate. Why? Unlike the typical family, which pays a far higher tax rate, Romney's income comes from – in Romney’s own words – “investments,” not “ordinary” income. Governor Romney became rich as a corporate buyout specialist at Bain Capital, putting profits over people and bankrupting companies, closing plants and outsourcing jobs so that he could line his own pockets.
And Romney’s commitment to secrecy and refusal to release his tax returns breaks more than just a presidential tradition of transparency – it breaks a long-held Ohio tradition, too. With the exception of Governor Kasich and Ken Blackwell, Ohio gubernatorial candidates from both parties have released their tax returns for decades.
“Mitt Romney doesn’t want middle-class Ohioans to see his tax returns because then they will know for sure that he pays a much lower tax rate than they do,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern. “If quarter-billionaire Mitt Romney is unfairly gaming the tax system in his favor, Ohioans have the right to know about it before our March primary. But even though leaders in both parties are pressuring Mitt Romney to follow a longtime precedent of presidential candidates in releasing his tax returns, we still haven’t gotten a straight answer from him."
Redfern continued, "How much money did he make, what effective tax rate does he pay, and why is he withholding this information? It’s time for Mitt Romney to reject the failed Governor-Kasich-model of ‘transparency,’ come clean with hardworking Ohioans and hold himself to the same standard that his father and every Republican and Democratic presidential nominee have set for decades.”