Democrat Sen. Harry Reid waged one of the more pernicious attacks on Mitt Romney during last year’s election. In July, Harry told the Huffington Post that he had learned from a source he never named that Romney hadn’t paid taxes for 10 years.
Saying he had “no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy,” Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office.
“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.
“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?”
Romney dismissed Reid outright and said he was wrong.
Reid never did name his “source,” though he claimed it was someone who had worked for Bain Capital. He never provided any evidence that he even knew what he was talking about. But he continued waging his war against Mitt Romney’s taxes through the election, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi eventually joined in. In both cases, the Democrats used the Huffington Post to wage this part of their campaign.
“Harry Reid made a statement that is true. Somebody told him. It is a fact,” Pelosi told The Huffington Post in a Sunday interview. “Whether he did or not can easily be disposed of: Mitt Romney can release his tax returns and show whether he paid taxes.”
Reid’s and Pelosi’s gambit was obviously part of the Obama campaign’s overall strategy to paint Romney as rich and unethical. The twosome were acting as attack dogs on the campaign’s behalf. The question is, did they actually have any real knowledge of Romney’s taxes? If they did, how did they obtain it? After this week, neither Reid nor Pelosi deserve the benefit of the doubt. Many in the Democratic Party had been putting pressure on the IRS to investigate Republicans and Tea Party groups before the IRS actually did it. Some of them still justify this abuse.
It’s common for political campaigns to question their opponents’ taxes and tax returns. Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign dogged their 2010 opponent about his taxes through the entire campaign, for instance, to try to get him to release his returns (Perry has released his going back a couple of decades or more). But those attacks tend not to claim anything specific about the contents of the tax returns. They’re demands that the opponent release them to be transparent with the voters, to put the opponent on the defensive and off message.
Reid’s claim was different. He claimed to have some knowledge of Romney’s tax returns, thanks to this source he never named.
Even now, Reid is condemning the IRS for doing the very thing that he still wants it to do: Investigate “shadowy” groups opposed to the president.