The List

5 reasons the Mitt Romney tax controversy won't go away

The GOP candidate's attempts to move on haven't quieted calls for him to release more tax records. Here's why he may have no choice

Mitt Romney can't seem to shake questions about his tax returns. The GOP presidential candidate's wife, Ann, chided the press for hounding her husband for more than the two years of returns (2010 and 2011) he is releasing, telling ABC News that Mitt, who's worth an estimated $250 million, has revealed everything "people need to know" about his family's finances. But the furor continued, with former president Bill Clinton, echoing calls from several prominent Republicans, saying that Romney should hand over 10 years of returns. Why won't this story die? Here, five reasons:

1. Democrats know this issue is gold for President Obama
Congressional Democrats are cranking up heat on Romney, says Rosalind S. Helderman at The Washington Post, by proposing legislation that would require all presidential candidates to release 10 years of tax returns. They also want to force disclosure of overseas investments, a way of calling attention to Romney's offshore accounts. Obviously, "Democrats sense they may be getting traction over Romney's refusal to release" more information.

2. The public really wants to know
It's not just Obama and his fellow Democrats who think Romney should open up his tax files, says Susan Page at USA Today. A USA Today/Gallup poll released on Thursday found that a majority of Americans — and that includes a third of Republicans — think that Romney should release more of his tax returns. Forty-two percent don't believe Romney's hiding anything harmful, while 44 percent are convinced that his returns from the years before 2010 contain damaging information. Fifteen percent think the revelations would show Romney is "unfit to be president."

3. Team Romney's errors are prolonging the story
Ann Romney's condescending attempt to put the matter to rest was not helpful, says Janet Shan at Hinterland Gazette. When you run for president, "your life is an open book," so telling Americans they don't need more information is a "slap in the face of all voters." Romney's a rich man, says Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post, so there are "nuggets to be mined" in his financial records, no doubt. But his line about not wanting to give Obama ammunition is only fueling speculation about what he's hiding, and turning what could have been a brief crisis into a slow "political death of 1,000 cuts."

4. Even conservatives are demanding that Romney open up
All the "friendly fire" Romney is taking from Republicans is keeping this issue in the headlines, says Liz Marlantes in The Christian Science Monitor. A parade of prominent Republicans, from former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour to Weekly Standard founder William Kristol, "have been voicing frustration with Mr. Romney for weeks now," urging Romney to make more returns public and fight back more aggressively against Democratic attacks. Granted, a lot of these conservatives have never been Romney fans, but their increasingly stinging remarks are getting attention, which can only hurt.

5. Biased reporters are carrying water for Obama
The "biased and sloppy" media are keeping this story alive, says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post, to help Obama drive home his attacks on Romney's taxes and his record at Bain Capital. "If liberals were honest about full disclosure they’d have complained about the Obama administration's serial secrecy and lack of transparency." Romney's right to refuse to bend. Otherwise he'd be letting "the Obama camp and his spinners direct his campaign."

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

Recommended

Democratic rep. says 'off the record' that Biden is 'not running again'
Carolyn Maloney
slip of the tongue

Democratic rep. says 'off the record' that Biden is 'not running again'

Author Salman Rushdie is on a ventilator and 'will likely lose one eye,' agent says
Salman Rushdie
not looking good

Author Salman Rushdie is on a ventilator and 'will likely lose one eye,' agent says

Tulsi Gabbard fills in on Tucker Carlson Tonight
Tulsi Gabbard
a match made in heaven

Tulsi Gabbard fills in on Tucker Carlson Tonight

House approves Democrats' spending bill 220-207
Nancy Pelosi.
long time coming

House approves Democrats' spending bill 220-207

Most Popular

Climate, crime, and the bodies at Lake Mead
Lake Mead.
Briefing

Climate, crime, and the bodies at Lake Mead

Justice Department investigating Southern Baptist Convention over handling of sex abuse
Demonstrators at the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention meeting
church and state

Justice Department investigating Southern Baptist Convention over handling of sex abuse

FBI seized 11 sets of classified docs from Mar-a-Lago: WSJ
Mar-a-Lago.
'top secret'

FBI seized 11 sets of classified docs from Mar-a-Lago: WSJ