Another Republican Says Mitt Romney Needs To Release More Tax Returns

This morning Ed Rollins, most recently of the Michele Bachmann campaign but most famously the architect of Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign, became the latest Republican to say that Mitt Romney needs to release more tax returns than he already has:

Mitt Romney needs to release more years of tax returns top GOP strategist Ed Rollins said on Fox News on Sunday morning.

“I think at this point of time it’s going to dog him all the way and he needs to get it behind him,” Rollins said. “I think he needs to release more taxes. Absolutely.”

Rollins, who managed the presidential campaigns of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and President Ronald Reagan, said he would have released records from “five or six years” much sooner.

“I would not put out 20 years and I obviously wouldn’t respond to anything Harry Reid states,” he said. “At the end of the day you come to the point where you basically give a little bit more and you move forward. And he’s going to do that. Two years is not enough, obviously.”

Rollins is right, of course, as are the other Republicans who have said the same thing. Harry Reid’s insane allegations notwithstanding, Romney’s people have to realize by now that there’s just no way this meme is going to go away until Romney provides more information. The Democrats, meanwhile, must have polling that shows this issue hurts Romney or they wouldn’t be pushing it so aggressively. Romney, meanwhile, is creating the impression that he’s willing to suffer the political damage of holding the returns back rather than releasing the documents and taking the hit. That makes it easy for demagogues like Reid to make baseless allegations.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Taxes, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    That makes it easy for demagogues like read to make baseless allegations.

    You meant “Reid” not “read” right? Is that a result of an auto-correction feature?

  2. K3HY says:

    We really don’t need another Republican president who will end up resigning in disgrace the same way Richard Nixon did.

  3. Dude, if 21,000 millionaires do not pay taxes every year, why is it “insane” to suggest Romney is in that group?

    The odds that he has been in that group are non-zero.

    An “insane claim” would have to fail at math, like “Romney paid $1T in taxes in each of the last 10 years.”

  4. (You know, if Romney’s tax problem is actually that he didn’t pay much, it is the very fact that he isn’t alone, isn’t unique that makes it a powerful political message. There are thousands of people out there like that. But you say to look for them is “class warfare.”)

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    I don’t think it’s a matter of him not paying taxes but there is something more toxic than not releasing them.

  6. James in LA says:

    This is not going to end well. Reid has absolutely nothing to lose, and a case could be made Romney has already lost the election. Every response from Romney keeps his D on the field another 2 minutes, and they are not a very good D. It is easy to see a critical mass of loyalty failing at a pivotal moment — say, around Tampa Time — for someone to who saw the returns in 2008 to leak them.

    I cannot recall such an unmitigated disaster of a candidate. Kerry was awful, but at least he was legit, and had at least SOME record of service. Mitt Romney, it is clear, serves Mitt Romney and no one else.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Harry Reid’s insane allegations

    Perhaps you could tell us why they are “insane” – high net worth individuals do some pretty amazing tricks with taxes, rather their CPAs & tax attorneys do.

    Or, you could just pick up the water buckets and get back to work.

  8. Ron Beasley says:

    My guess is that all these Republicans are coming out now because they want to know before the convention.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    I’ll join with those who don’t think Reid is insane. Of course I have no idea if he’s telling the truth, or his unnamed source was telling the truth, or even whether there was a source, but as noted above, there’s nothing insane about the possibility that Mr. Romney paid zero or close to zero taxes.

    The longer he stonewalls the more room he gives people to imagine. And imagination is not his friend in this.

  10. Skimming the news, Reid is really making the Republicans lose it. RNC chairman calls Harry Reid A “dirty liar” etc.

    I think the anger must come from their own conflicted feelings about rich people who pay no tax. That is it’s good, but no one should talk about it.

  11. rudderpedals says:

    Rollins tried to save Katherine Harris’s senate campaign and went public as here when teh stupid got too extreme. Notwithstanding the concern troll aspect his appearance is like the undertaker coming by to take coffin measurements

  12. MBunge says:

    @john personna: “That is it’s good, but no one should talk about it.”

    This has been the thing that’s been going on rhetorically, intellectually and emotionally with conservatism. They’ve been adopting more and more extreme and even reactionary language, ideas and attitudes yet not only lie to the outside world about it, they deceive themselves about what they actually believe and why.


  13. anjin-san says:

    It’s worth noting that Rollins is a true Reagan Republican, unlike the tea party nuts that fancy themselves such…

  14. de stijl says:

    Rollins didn’t just throw Bachmann under the bus for the Huma Abedin affair, he also got in the vehicle and backed it over her a few times. It was brutal:

    “I am fully aware that she sometimes has difficulty with her facts…”

    Rollins also hates Romney from his Huckabee 2008 gig. He was quoted as saying he wanted to knock Romney’s teeth out.

    Rollins may be approaching a David Frum type of moment.

  15. Gustopher says:

    I don’t think the Obama re-election folks have any polling that this hurts Romney, they just see that it paralyzes his campaign, so he’s not able to bring out any other message.

    Of course, he hasn’t even put out a single year, since he’s missing a couplemofmforms about overseas accounts.

  16. Gustopher says:

    Some of those “m”s should be spaces. iPad keyboard, and too impatient to proofread until after I hit post.

  17. Candice says:

    Anyone that wishes to send me 10 years of their tax returns just let me know. I’d like to see them all.

  18. Ron Beasley says:

    Booman has an interesting take –

    Maybe Romney is going to do it, but I kind of doubt it. What I find more interesting is this spectacle of the usually quite disciplined Mighty Right-Wing Wurlitzer bellowing smoke and emitting clunking sounds. When Brit Hume and Bill Kristol are stomping on Romney’s rationale for not releasing his taxes, you know that something has gone amiss. So, what is it? Is the fix in? Are conservatives openly sabotaging Romney’s chances? Or do these ruthless operators actually have a point beyond which they won’t go in defending the indefensible?

  19. anjin-san says:

    The Fox guys can see the writing on the wall. The dynamic of this race is shaping up to be very unfavorable for Romney, and he really has to make all the right moves from here on out to have a shot. So far he has not made any of the right moves.

    Obama Still Has the Lead
    Dan Balz: “The head-to-head polls have largely remained static in that time. But in looking at the numbers nationally and in the battleground states, the consistency of Obama’s lead is striking. More than two dozen national polls have been conducted since the beginning of June. Obama has led in the overwhelming number of them.”

    “Polls in the most contested states show a similar pattern. In three of the most important — Ohio, Florida and Virginia — there have been roughly three dozen polls total since April, about the time that Romney’s GOP rivals were exiting the nomination race. In Ohio and Virginia, Obama has led in all but a few. In Florida, Romney has done better, but overall, Obama has led about twice as often…”

    “But at this point, the available evidence suggests that the advantage, however small, is with Obama. If this were truly a dead even race, Romney should be ahead in these polls almost as often as he is behind.”


  20. wr says:

    @Candice: “Anyone that wishes to send me 10 years of their tax returns just let me know. I’d like to see them all. ”

    Sure thing. Just as soon as I’m nominated by my party to run for president.

  21. Ron Beasley says:

    @anjin-san: I think that’s accurate – nobody believes Romney can win. It may have less to do with policy than Romney himself. He’s not likable but more important no one trusts him. The tax issue reinforces that distrust. Conservatives may think it would be better if Romney got beat bad so they could say we need to nominate a “real” conservative.

  22. Jim Henley says:

    The measure of Romney’s difficulty is that only one conservative can bring themselves to shill for his position in this thread, and that one isn’t a name I recognize as a regular.

  23. jukeboxgrad says:


    That makes it easy for demagogues like Reid to make baseless allegations.

    I love the irony. You’re in no position to know whether or not Reid’s allegation is baseless, which means your allegation that he made a baseless allegation is a baseless allegation.


    if Romney’s tax problem is actually that he didn’t pay much, it is the very fact that he isn’t alone, isn’t unique that makes it a powerful political message

    This is a key point. The problem isn’t (necessarily) that Mitt paid less then what the law requires. The problem is that the law makes it possible for people like to him to get away with paying not much.

    So this isn’t just a story about possible bad behavior by Mitt. It’s a story about how Mitt illustrates deep problems with our tax system. This issue is bigger than Mitt, and bigger than this election, and it’s something the GOP doesn’t want you to think about too much. So it’s quite upsetting to them that Mitt is drawing attention to this problem.

  24. Jay says:

    The responses here are hilarious.

    Hilarious because the assumption is made that everyday people actually give a shit about this issue outside of the media, political pundits and assholes like Harry Reid (with the blessing of the White House).

    The question has to be asked: Why are they back on taxes? Because the Bain attacks failed miserably, particularly when the poll from Gallup was released showing 63% of Americans felt Romney’s experience at Bain would cause him to make good decisions in dealing with economic problems.

    People keep saying this is working in driving Romney’s likability down. But there is no evidence of that as likability polls about Romney are all over the place. And even in the polls where Obama far outpaces Romney in the “likable” area, he is either tied or losing to when asked who they are going to vote for.

    And why? Because Obama has been a disaster on the domestic front. Ironically, it is on foreign policy and terrorism than Obama gets his highest marks (it’s also ironic that Obama has secured these high approval ratings pretty continuing the policies of the Bush administration when it comes to terrorism, even going further with increased drone attacks and kill orders that include United States citizens). But when it comes to the economy, he’s behind.

    Despite the “likable” nonsense, Romney polls ahead of Obama in almost every poll as to who would better handle the economy, jobs, taxes and the deficit.

    So it will be interesting watching Democrats flail away with these idiotic tax return attacks. Before you know, the conventions will be over and Romney will to start spending the boatloads of cash he has waiting in the wings.

  25. john personna says:


    The best proof for failure of Obama strategies would be a poll showing Romney winning, especially by electoral count.

  26. Ron Beasley says:

    @john personna: You are right – polling shows that Obama will only lose two of the states he won in 2008, Indiana and North Carolina which still leaves him with 232 EVs.

  27. Ron Beasley says:

    @Ron Beasley: Opps – that should be 332 EVs.

  28. anjin-san says:

    The responses here are hilarious.

    Check out the electoral college trending & get back to us on how hard you are laughing. The “this will be a very close election” line is a media meme, it does not appear to be in line with reality at this point.

    Right now, Romney’s campaign is sputtering along on three cylinders. Even the right wing talking heads are starting to sound alarmed. If he can’t turn on the afterburners soon, well, it will not be good for Mittens.

  29. anjin-san says:

    Obama has secured these high approval ratings pretty continuing the policies of the Bush administration when it comes to terrorism

    Right. Bush said “I’m not concerned about Bin Laden”, and then disbanded the team that was looking for him. Obama made getting Bin Laden a top priority, and now Osama is at the bottom of the sea, not plotting attacks against our country. Exactly the same thing.

    You sound kind of crabby and nervous. Just like every other Republican in here when they talk about the election.

  30. Fred says:

    Notch up a couple more RINO squishes who want Romney to get on the CaveIn Express training program so the PRESSSSident can have something to talk about other than the sad sack Oconomy.

  31. al-Ameda says:

    Mitt Romney needs to release more years of tax returns top GOP strategist Ed Rollins said on Fox News on Sunday morning.
    “I think at this point of time it’s going to dog him all the way and he needs to get it behind him,” Rollins said. “I think he needs to release more taxes. Absolutely.

    Are Republicans now going to assert that Ed Rollins is a RINO?
    Jeez, even Ed Rollins of all people, thinks that Mitt Romney is a smarmy, unctuous phony.

  32. superdestroyer says:

    The Democrats must have polling data that shows that they are way ahead and that Romney stands no chance of winning.

    thus, the Democrats are turing the election into a referendum on raising taxes and the government spending more money. Instead of writing pointless posts about irrelevant Republicans, why not writer about the how high taxes will go in the future and what is the upper limit on the percentage of GDP that the government can consume.

  33. C. Clavin says:

    “…The Democrats must have polling data that shows that they are way ahead and that Romney stands no chance of winning…”

    Yeah…it’s called the Electoral Vote tally.
    The Princeton Election Consortium has Obama at 10:1.
    Nate Silver has Obama at 77% to 23%.
    Of course you can’t type anything without a far right spin…but just keep in mind that Obama has lowered everyones taxes…and turned the curve of spending downward. In addition he did offer a 4:1 revenue increase:spending cut deal to the Republicans and they refused. Now it the Republicans who are trying to get out of the Sequestration cuts.
    If you opinion is based on mis-information…your opinion is mis-informed.

  34. labman57 says:

    If he could (without insulting the nation and verifying his complete lack of ethics), he would, but he can’t, so he won’t.

  35. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    What the Democrats offered was tax increases now for the promise of spending cuts in the future. Bush I made the same deal, the Democrats refused to cut spending, and James CArville used the deal to bash Bush I during the 1992 election.

    The only deal the Republicans should sign on for is spending cuts today with a promise of increased taxes in the future. I doubt if a single Democrats would agree to such a plan because they know that future promises are really just lies.