NBC journalist Chuck Todd reportedly asked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney whether he’d release his tax returns this election cycle. “I never say never,” Romney responded, according to the New York Times. “I don't intend to do so.”
So it would seem that Romney does not want to release his tax returns. That might not be too surprising. After all, he did not last time he ran for president—though much of the rest of the Democratic and Republican field did, including John McCain and Barack Obama. And when a candidate does release his returns, they are, like everything else, scrutinized—at least for a couple days.
Well, it’s well known the Romney has considerable wealth. And it’s now also well known—thanks to a team of 5 reporters at the New York Times—that Romney still receives dividends from Bain Capital, the private equity firm he helped found, as part of his retirement package.
And thanks to yet other New York Times investigative reports it is also well known that Romney, though he is rich, is cheap, and that he has an internal “tug of war, still evident in Mr. Romney’s life, between an instinctive, at times comical frugality, and an embrace of the lavish lifestyle that accompanied his swelling Wall Street fortune.” That article was titled, “Two Romneys: Wealthy Man, Thrifty Habits.”
(He also flies commercial airplanes—and sits in coach!—to get from one campaign spot to another, though, the Times reported in a separate blog post, he does not always like to talk with the other passengers sitting next to him for the duration of the entire flight.)
Clearly, the media, or the New York Times, is already obsessed with Romney’s fortune. That will not change if Romney continues not to release personal information about his wealth.
So why wouldn’t Romney just release his tax records and get it over with?
Stories will be written about his fortune and his personal spending habits regardless of what he does. By releasing his tax information, he can at least make sure they are accurate and that they reflect reality.