Harry Reid's Accusation Against Romney Needs to be Substantiated

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Ben Cohen
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Harry Reid's accusation that Mitt Romney paid no federal taxes in 10 years took a new twist as the Senate Majority leader took the issue to the Senate floor. From the LA Times:

Reid’s allegations, which he has refused to substantiate, are taking the issue to a new level.

The Democrat, in remarks to the Senate this morning, said that “the word’s out that he [Romney] hasn’t paid any taxes for 10 years.”

Of course, that “word” has come from none other than Reid himself.  Since last month, when he alleged in a Senate floor speech that Romney “basically paid no taxes in the prior twelve years,” the Nevada Democrat has continued to hammer away at the topic.

Reid has said he learned about Romney’s taxes earlier this summer from an investor in Bain Capital who, he said, called his office to pass along the information.  The senator has refused to identify the investor and has acknowledged that he can’t be certain about the veracity of the charges he’s been spreading.

In a conference call with Nevada reporters on Wednesday, he broadened what he said were his sources for the contention that Romney was able to avoid federal taxes.

“I have had a number of people tell me that,” said Reid, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal , while refusing to elaborate. “I don't think the burden should be on me,” Reid told home-state reporters. “The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes. Why didn’t he release his tax returns?”

I'm all for going after Romney on his extremely dubious record at Bain Capital, but having 'a number of people' telling Reid off the record that Romney paid no taxes whatsoever doesn't cut it. The burden is not on Romney to prove every single accusation hurled at him, particularly when they are completely unsubstantiated. It is extremely important that Romney release all his taxes for the last 10 years for the public to see, but not because Harry Reid claims that he hasn't paid any. If Reid has some evidence, he has a responsibility to produce if he is going to continue making the accusations in public.

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