During an interview that’s scheduled to air on Thursday, NBC’s Natalie Morales noted that people were still calling for the Romneys to release more than two years of tax returns.
“Have you seen how we’re attacked?” Ann Romney said, leaning forward in her chair. “Have you seen what’s happened?”
“Are you angry that it’s been in the press?” Morales wondered. “I mean, should you not be questioned about your finances?”
“We have been very transparent to what’s legally required of us,” Ann Romney replied. “But the more we release, the more we get attacked, the more we get questioned, the more we get pushed. And so, we have done what’s legally required. And there’s going to be no more tax releases given.”
“To the American people, though, when they hear about perhaps accounts with your name on it overseas and tax shelters, they feel like you may be hiding something,” Morales pointed out.
“There’s nothing we’re hiding,” Romney explained. “You know, we’ve had a blind trust for how many years? We don’t even know what’s in there. It’s been managed by blind trust since before Mitt was governor, you know, 2002 forward. And so, you know, I’ll be curious to see what’s in there too.”
You know? Just trust Ann — she’s not hiding anything about what she doesn’t know about. Quit attacking them for things that make them uncomfortable. Shhh. Steve Benen points out how radical the Romneys are being about hiding their tax returns:
She went on to say, “There’s nothing we’re hiding.” Except the tax returns, the tax rates paid, and the explanation for the Swiss bank account, the shell corporation in Bermuda, and the cash in the Cayman Islands. Other than hiding all of that, they’re not hiding anything.
And why will the Romneys refuse all additional calls for disclosure, even from Republicans? According to Ann Romney, it’s because Democrats might use the materials to make Mitt Romney look bad.
I continue to marvel at this deeply odd argument. As Dahlia Lithwick and Raymond Vasvari recently explained, “[Romney] isn’t actually claiming that his opponents will lie. He’s claiming he’s entitled to hide the truth because it could be used against him…. These are tax returns. Factual documents. No different than, say, a birth certificate. But the GOP’s argument that inconvenient facts can be withheld from public scrutiny simply because they can be used for mean purposes is a radical idea in a democracy.”
Don’t forget that one or two tax returns as background on his potential running mates wouldn’t cut it for Mitt Romney — he requested “several” from each of them, including Paul Ryan. Romney won’t give you the same background on himself because he knows he’ll be attacked. Not only that, he destroyed records from when he was governor of Massachusetts. He destroyed the records from when he ran the 2002 Olympics. And we have only part of the story about how he retroactively retired from Bain Capital to run the Olympics, yet was still one of two managing members, attending board meetings, signing documents and receiving a six-figure salary — as reported to the SEC. But, trust him, he’s hiding nothing.
Unless you’re currently comatose (or a teapartier), these facts indicate that Mitt Romney won’t disclose his past tax returns because he IS hiding something – something that’s so embarrassing, so uncomfortable, so attackable that all this criticism and speculation and mistrust is actually preferable to the alternative.