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September 2, 2015

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Harry Reid not backing down over issue of Romney’s taxes

Harry Reid

Harry Reid

A summary of Mitt Romney’s taxes over the past 20 years that says the Romneys paid state and federal income taxes each year didn’t cow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The Nevada Democrat continued to hammer on the Republican presidential nominee, who is slated to speak in Las Vegas this afternoon, dismissing the summary of tax information Romney released Friday.

“It’s rich to hear Mitt Romney complain about people not paying income taxes,” Reid said on a conference call with reporters, referring to Romney’s secretly recorded comments about the 47 percent of people who don’t pay federal income taxes. “An outline by some accountant about his blind trust? That’s not going to do it.”

Later he said: “He’s hiding something. He’s hiding something! It is so evident he’s hiding something!”

Romney’s campaign released a summary Friday of the couple’s blind trust over the past 20 years. The statement said the Romneys each year owed both state and federal income taxes. They paid federal taxes at an effective annual rate of 20.2 percent, and never less than 13.66 percent, according to the statement.

That would seem to blow a hole in Reid’s claim that started the summer of controversy over Romney’s taxes.

In an interview with the Huffington Post in July, Reid said an unnamed person who had invested with Bain Capital, which Romney used to head, told Reid that Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.

Romney’s campaign Friday also released his 2011 taxes. Filings showed Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, paid $1.94 million in federal taxes on last year’s income of $13.7 million, for an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent, according to the Associated Press.

That marks the second year of full tax returns Romney has released.

But Reid repeated his call for Romney to release full tax returns for at least 12 years.

Romney’s campaign, asked to respond, said: “President Obama’s campaign is willing to say or do anything to distract Nevadans from his failed record on the economy, the housing market and the fact President Obama’s policies haven’t worked.”

The Romney camp also noted that on Friday the state announced that Nevada’s unemployment rate increased in August to 12.1 percent.

On Thursday night, Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said on “Face to Face With Jon Ralston” that no one would make up their minds on the presidential race based on Romney’s tax returns.

“Of course Harry Reid wants to talk about that, because Harry Reid can’t talk about the fact that he’s presided over a Senate that hasn’t passed a budget for three years,” Christie said. “I mean, he doesn’t want to talk about the substance of what affects real Americans’ lives. I do. And so does Mitt Romney.”

Reid, on the conference call with reporters, said of the summary: “A brief outline of his blind trust? Come on. How many people have a blind trust?”

He called it a “kabuki game.”

Ben Labolt, national press secretary for Obama’s campaign, said the summary demonstrates that Romney has the ability to release the returns.

“It’s clear that Romney has 20 years worth of returns prepared, ready to release to the public,” Labolt said on the call. “Instead of providing the rate on tax returns each year, they blended it together over 20 years...I think that’s telling.”

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