Should the American people be entitled to as full an account of Paul Ryan’s taxes as the Romney campaign? New information about the vice-presidential selection process may revive interest in the issue as a flashpoint in the presidential campaign.
As part of its vetting, the Romney campaign required at least some of the candidates on the short list—including the eventual winner of the GOP veepstakes, Ryan—to submit fully 10 years of tax returns, according to a knowledgeable source.
The requirement was consistent with the past practices of both Republican and Democratic campaigns. Indeed, in 2008, Mitt Romney turned over 23 years of taxes to John Mccain’s campaign when he was under consideration to be the Arizona senator’s running mate.
But this year, the vetting of tax returns has had particular political resonance because of Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of his own tax filings. The Obama campaign has waged a withering assault on Romney for his failure to be more transparent about his personal finances, part of a larger narrative seeking to portray the Republican nominee as a privileged plutocrat who has been able to mine the tax code for loopholes and other tricks unavailable to average middle—class Americans. For months, Chicago and its allies have hammered Romney on taxes, suggesting he must be hiding something.
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