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McGreal reports: "Robert Gibbs says 'nobody knows' if Republican presidential candidate broke the law and calls on him to release tax returns."

President Obama's top campaign adviser joined other Democrats in calling for Romney to release his tax information. (photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)v
President Obama's top campaign adviser joined other Democrats in calling for Romney to release his tax information. (photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Obama Aide Hints at Romney Tax Evasion

By Chris McGreal, Guardian UK

09 July 12


Robert Gibbs says 'nobody knows' if Republican presidential candidate broke the law and calls on him to release tax returns.

he Obama campaign has called on Mitt Romney to release years of tax returns to prove he did not break the law following claims that the Republican presidential candidate held secret accounts in foreign tax havens.

Robert Gibbs, the president's former spokesman and now a top campaign adviser, said on CNN that "nobody knows" whether Romney committed tax evasion after Vanity Fair reported that he kept parts of his multimillion dollar fortune in more than a dozen entities in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Switzerland.

Vanity Fair reported that among other things Romney parked some of his money in a Bermuda corporation entirely owned by him which he transferred to his wife's name the day before he became Massachusetts's governor and then failed to list it on financial disclosure forms.

It finally appeared on his 2010 tax return.

"Quite frankly he offshores most of his own personal investments, presumably to shield them from taxes," said Gibbs.

The Obama aide continued: "Nobody knows why he has a corporation in Bermuda, why he failed to disclose that on seven different financial disclosures, why he transferred it to someone else's purview the day before he became governor of Massachusetts.

"The one thing he could do to clear up whether he's done anything illegal, whether he's shielding his income from taxes in Bermuda or Switzerland is to do what every other presidential candidate's done and that is to release a series of years of their own tax returns... The best way to figure out if Mitt Romney is complying with American tax law is to have him release more of the tax returns."

The Obama campaign also released a web video on Sunday pressing the issue.

"Mitt Romney is effectively saying he has not technically broken any laws by keeping his money in offshore tax havens. Here's the question. Is not technically breaking the law a high enough standard for someone who wants to be president of the United States?" it said.

The Romney campaign rejected the criticisms saying that the Republican challenger "pays every dime of tax he owes".

"The Obama campaign's latest unfounded character assault on Mitt Romney is unseemly and disgusting," said Andrea Saul, his campaign spokeswoman. "Barack Obama has become what he once ran against - a typical politician willing to use false and dishonest attacks to save his job after failing to do his job."

The issue of Romney's offshore accounts plays into attacks over how he made his vast fortune including accusations he shipped American jobs overseas when he was running Bain Capital and will protect tax breaks for millionaires as president.

"I pick a bank because there's an ATM near my home," said Gibbs. "Romney had a bank account in Switzerland."

Several other prominent Democrats joined the assault on the Republican candidate on the Sunday talk shows.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, also pressed the issue on Fox News.

"I'd really like to see Mitt Romney release more than one year of tax records, because there's been disturbing reports recently that he's got a Bermuda corporation, a secretive Bermuda corporation that no one knows anything about, investments in the Caymans, kind of Swiss bank account," she said.

"Americans need to ask themselves why does an American businessman need a Swiss bank account and secretive investments like that?"

Romney has released details of his taxes for the last two years but declined to make earlier ones public.

Some of his opponents speculate that is because before he decided to run for president he paid a significantly lower proportion of tax - a politically sensitive issue as Republicans resist Obama's demand to scrap the Bush-era tax breaks for the very wealthy.

Two years ago the president signed a bill extending across the board tax cuts as part of his efforts to revive the economy. But Obama now wants to scrap the break for the rich while preserving cuts for the middle classes and poor.

"He is 100% committed to it," said Gibbs. "Let the wealthy in this country, that have been doing fine for years and years and years, begin to pay their fair share." your social media marketing partner
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