Ann Romney, the wife of Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting Mitt Romney, has said the couple will not release more than two years of tax information to the public, reaffirming the campaign's earlier decision.
- Tax Information the Romneys Have Released
- Mitt Romney and the Buffett Rule
- Wealthiest Presidential Candidates
Mrs. Romney told ABC's Good Morning America show that providing tax information beyond the years 2010 and 2011 would give President Barack Obama fodder for further attacks, a move that clearly indicates the Romney campaign is placing its own political survival ahead of the public interest in his finances.
"There are so many things that will be open again for more attack," Mrs. Romney said. "We've given all people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life," she told Good Morning America. "And so the election, again, will not be decided on that. (It) will be decided on who is going to turn the economy around and how are jobs going to come back to America."
To date, the Romneys have released some tax information for 2010 and an estimate for 2011. The 2010 numbers show the couple reported nearly $22 million in income and paid more than $3 million taxes, giving the Romneys an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent. The Romneys have faced criticism that their tax rate is less than that of some middle-class families, though that would change if the so-called Buffett Rule proposed by Obama were to pass Congress and be made law.
So what information do the other Romney tax returns hold?
Steve Schmidt, who worked as a strategist for 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, said on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday that the 23 years of tax information provided to the campaign by Romney that year show the former Massachusetts governor is an "extremely wealthy man."
He said that while there was nothing in Romney's tax returns that would preclude him from serving, the filings "do not look anything like the average American."
So on the question of whether to disclose or not disclose, Romney has clearly made the political calculation that releasing his tax returns to the public would cause more damage than letting this controversy drag on indefinitely. And with comments like Schmidt's fueling more speculation, it is clear this controversy will indeed drag on.
[Ann Romney Photo/Getty Images]