When One Mormon Gossips about Another Mormon Not Paying His Taxes

For the record, I think Mitt has multiple reasons to hide his tax returns. I think it’s largely about what his returns would say about his business practices, it’s partly about his tax shelters, and, one way or another, it’s about his relative loyalty to his church and his country.

But here’s a thought.

Harry Reid, Mormon, and Senator from Nevada, is the one leading the charge to return attention to Mitt’s tax returns.

He attributes his claim that Mitt paid no taxes for ten years to someone who invested with Bain. Now he may know his purported Bain-related source because he travels the halls of power. But Bain has very close cultural ties to the Mormon Church–according to some, improperly so. Moreover, because Mitt and other Bain execs have given so much to the Mormon Church in the form of Bain stocks, high ranking Mormon insiders may have a better idea of what Bain Capital actually does–and how Mitt valued his holdings before he gave them to the Church–than most others.

So Reid may be calling out Mitt not just as a former boxer, but as someone who shares a very wealth-based and close knit faith with Mitt.

Add in the practice–which even an outsider like me saw when I lived in UT and worked for a predominantly Mormon company in the 1990s–of gossip about tithing, notably whether Mormon colleagues tithed pre- or post-tax. That’s another reason why Reid may have a better sense of what Mitt’s tax practices look like than DC pundits might guess on face value.

Finally, though, there’s this. If one of the reasons Mitt is hiding his tax returns does have to do with under-tithing (as the returns Mitt released may suggest), and not just his business practices and tax shelters, remember that both CO (2.15%) and especially NV (over 5%) have larger Mormon populations than average. Nate Silver considers NV the state with the biggest return on investment per voter (CO is 6th). These are lean Democratic states that Mitt might need to win if Obama’s attacks on Bain outsourcing continue to turn the race in the manufacturing swing states (though if Mitt doesn’t win FL and VA, it may be moot anyway). Driving down the Mormon enthusiasm for Mitt might be one way to boost Obama’s chances.

This is obviously all speculation, as all discussions about Mitt’s taxes are. But this comment, stated by one Mormon about another, could have different connotations among Mormon listeners than non-Mormon ones.

A month or so ago, [Harry Reid] said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office.

“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.

“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?

This sounds like the kind of gossip even I would hear in UT. Was Mitt’s source talking taxes? Or tithes?

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

82 replies
  1. Arbusto says:

    I love Reid’s statement “…he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years”. That’s tax evasion and Mittens would be in discussions with the IRS instead of running his sorry ass campaign. More properly Mittens may have had no taxes payable, if he took all allowed deductions, including creative deductions (criminal vs civil).

    I think Reid’s attack may have Mormons rethinking that’s it’s more important to elect a fellow Mormon than a biracial, even if he’s a lying sack of shit who talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.

  2. Peterr says:

    I think it is probably taxes, not tithes, that Harry’s source was talking about. See here for why.

    But the penchant for gossip over finances and tithes that you describe would easily make Mitt’s taxes grist for the gossip mill.

    If you’ve quietly bragged to your LDS colleagues about your ability to employ creative-but-legal accounting when it comes to figuring the taxes on your very hefty income, it’s not a stretch at all for them to wonder if you’ve done the same kind of creative accounting when it comes to figuring your tithe.

    If so, I can easily imagine a certain phrase coming up again and again in the discussions: “just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.”

    And now that I think about it, that seems to be Shorter Harry Reid.

  3. JohnT says:

    Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.

    Prolly, because of Carried Interest

    David Cay Johnston:

    4. Many of the very richest pay no current income taxes at all.

    John Paulson, the most successful hedge-fund manager of all, bet against the mortgage market one year and then bet with Glenn Beck in the gold market the next. Paulson made himself $9 billion in fees in just two years. His current tax bill on that $9 billion? Zero.

    Congress lets hedge-fund managers earn all they can now and pay their taxes years from now.

    […]

    … hedge-fund managers don’t even pay 15 percent. At least, not currently. So long as they leave their money, known as “carried interest,” in the hedge fund, their taxes are deferred. They only pay taxes when they cash out, which could be decades from now for younger managers. …

    Lots of other people live tax-free, too. I have Donald Trump’s tax records for four years early in his career. He paid no taxes for two of those years. Big real-estate investors enjoy tax-free living under a 1993 law President Clinton signed. It lets “professional” real-estate investors use paper losses like depreciation on their buildings against any cash income, even if they end up with negative incomes like Trump.

    Frank and Jamie McCourt, who own the Los Angeles Dodgers, have not paid any income taxes since at least 2004, their divorce case revealed. Yet they spent $45 million one year alone. How? They just borrowed against Dodger ticket revenue and other assets. To the IRS, they look like paupers.

    In Wisconsin, Terrence Wall, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2010, paid no income taxes on as much as $14 million of recent income, his disclosure forms showed. Asked about his living tax-free while working people pay taxes, he had a simple response: Everyone should pay less.

    […]

    http://wweek.com/portland/article-17350-9_things_the_rich_dont_want_you_to_know_about_taxes.html

  4. P J Evans says:

    @JohnT:
    There’s also some concern that he was playing games with the stock that he apparently used to feed his IRA. How else could he get an IRA that’s supposed to be worth $100 million?

  5. joberly says:

    @Peterr: I think you are correct, Peterr. I went back and looked at the 2010 Romneys’ tax return, for the first time since I did my own taxes on April 15. They gave $1.525M to the LDS, which amounted to 7 percent of their adjusted gross income of $21.6M. Even if they gave to the Church on a post-tax basis, they still came in under ten percent. This has been public since February.

    One other thing I noticed in looking at their 2010 return–they gave some information about “foreign tax credit carryovers” for eleven tax-years, 2000-2010. There has been much chatter about 2009 being a year when many taxpayers settled with the IRS for past underpayments. I don’t see it on p. 172 of their returns. Rather, it was calendar year 2008 when the Romneys claimed $636K in foreign taxes and use that as a credit on their US taxes.

  6. Jettboy says:

    “I think Reid’s attack may have Mormons rethinking” Wrong! Its making us double down on hating Reid as a lying twit who is attacking a fellow Mormon in open public. The Bible (and Book of Mormon) has a few things to say for that kind of behavior. Like Mitt said, “put up or shut up.” Reid needs to be dragged into LDS Church court and prove he isn’t breaking the commandment of false witness.

  7. joberly says:

    @JohnT: It’s good to see citations to David Cay Johnston’s work. I learned a lot from his 2003 book *Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich—and Cheat Everybody Else*. I also recommend Jeffrey Winters’ 2011 book *Oligarchy* which has a chapter that relies heavily on Johnston’s reporting. Winters’ coined the term “Income Defense Industry” to describe the collection of attorneys, bankers, and accountants who fashion off-shore accounts, passive-loss “S” corporations, carried interest, and the like to reduce the effective tax rate paid well below the legal marginal rate. The Romneys are a good example: they paid 13.9 percent in 2010 versus the legal marginal rate of 35 percent. Looking at the Romneys’ 2010 tax return, Mitt & Ann seem to have used nearly every such service provided by the Income Defense Industry.

  8. sd says:

    Translation of what Harry Reid said to the LDS community:

    I’m passing along gossip from a trusted source that I have every good reason to believe.

    There’s other gossip out there and you all know what it is. And I am letting you know that you have every good reason to believe it too is true.

  9. Toby Wollin says:

    OK, here is my take on this: The Romneys have been LDS since 1839. The earliest Mormon Romney probably knew Joseph Smith personally. They’ve always been big wheels in the Church. Reid came to the church when he and his wife converted when they were in college – definitely would not be seen as being in the same class as the Romneys but Reid does have status in the Church. What if it became widely thought and/or known that the Romneys were not tithing properly? What would it do to the thinking of the average Mormon in this country with regard to family tithing if someone of Romney’s history and stature in the church was being allowed to cheat? i think the Church is using Reid to get Romney to pull out his tax returns so that the faithful can see that either a) he didn’t cheat and has been good and true and tithing the way he’s supposed to or b) that he’s been naughty and then the Church can do what it does and Romney can be contrite, pay his outstanding bill and move on. the LDS Church lives and dies on having people faithfully crank out their 10%. Having Romney be thought a bad boy in this regard is dangerous for them. But that’s just my opinion.

  10. guest says:

    @Jettboy: Maybe Reid could tell them to schedule that trial for right after they get to the bottom of Willard’s long list of outright lies during the last year. This guy makes Pinocchio and Shrub look like boy scouts.

  11. rabidbadger says:

    @Jettboy: You believe that it is church doctrine that if you know or strongly suspect that another member is engaged in illegal activity you shouldn’t admit that in public? Because if so, it seems you have a very different version of The Book Of Mormon than the one I studied in Primary, Especially for Youth and four years of Seminary. Do you also believe that it would be against church doctrine for a member to go to legal (non-church) authorities to report another member’s illegal acts?

  12. EH says:

    Reid needs to be dragged into LDS Church court and prove he isn’t breaking the commandment of false witness.

    Does that happen? If Reid is telling the truth, and therefore not bearing false witness (as I understand it), at what point are they called to account for themselves? Just generally. Does the LDS have some kind of reverse-confessional? “It’s been six weeks since my last truthfession.” “Tell us about all the lies you didn’t tell this week, boyo.”

  13. freepatriot says:

    romney’s $77,000 deduction for horses that would be documented by his tax returns probably doesn’t help

    spending $77,000 on a horse doesn’t bother me much, but when a bastard writes of more money than I ever made in a year and calls it a “hobby” that really burns my ass

    I’m thinking most of America could relate

  14. noble_serf says:

    About the horse… 77k was the deduction for part ownership, so that horse and expenses are well into the millions….

    Mr. Rommey is certianly a multi-billion dollar morman who also hides money from the IRS. But, those are the least disturbing things about him….

  15. rugger9 says:

    This is still buzzing along quite nicely this week.

    For jetboy: all Mitt had to do was release the returns to put egg firmly on Harry’s face. He won’t or can’t do it. If the facts are as Mitt says they are, it’s a no brainer to release the returns and the whole thing goes away. The fact he is still fighting it means whatever it is Mitt’s hiding must be spectacular.

    So far we have maybe one return, the FEDERAL 2010. That’s important because it is quite possible that Mitt’s state return would show him to be a resident of NH when he was voting [as he admitted in a presser] for Scott Brown in MA. We have a promise to release the 2011 FEDERAL return after the election, because it’s apparently not ready yet. Now, as I recall, IRS allows a four month extension which expires in a couple weeks. In addition, the years he supposedly lived in UT for the Olympics would invalidate his standing to legally run for governor of MA, or maybe it was in NH he “resided”. The point here is that the returns would provide some clarity on the Bain timing as well, combined with the SEC filings we already have seen.

    There’s a reason he’s hiding, and it’s a lulu to take this much crap from both sides of the aisle.

  16. freepatriot says:

    high ew
    I can’t say I’m well, and the doctors don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I still got all my mental faculties and my bad attitude

    gittin old sucks

    I mostly hang out at politico laughing at the mouth breathers, but I still read my favorite blog queen

    what I want to know is if I spend hundreds per year on my doggers, catses and turtles, can I get a write off too ???

    I promise not to tell the doggers their a “Hobby”

    screw the cats, I’ll tell them anything

    and everybody knows turtles can’t talk

  17. Jim White says:

    @freepatriot: Yep, getting old does indeed suck, but it beats the alternative. I’m coming up on the one year anniversary of getting a valve job, and my ticker is still ticking after taking that licking.

    Take care. And enjoy the critters, they offer very good company compared to a lot of the “humans” on this planet.

  18. Petrocelli says:

    @Jim White: Congratulations, Jim ! There have been incredible improvements in Cardiac surgery, here’s to many, many more years of good health & enjoyment !

    My Canuck $0.02 … if Feckless Harry Reid is hammering Mitt, he must have 101% certainty of what he speaks. And this bodes well for Dems taking back both Houses and progressives having 4 years to push their agenda.

  19. Govt Mule says:

    If Romney listed the house in Wolfborough, NH as his primary residence, there would be NO state income tax for the Granite State. He still might be paying some non-resident taxes from states where he maintains a home, which apparently is no longer Massachusetts. Willard Wormtongue claimed residency in his son’s unfinished basement and voted in the January, 2010 special election for US Senate for nudie model Scott Brown.

  20. P J Evans says:

    @Govt Mule:
    When he was running the Olympics, he apparently claimed his house in Utah as his official residence (for tax purposes) and, when challenged by the MA electoral committee, blamed it on the county assessor’s office.

    He’s hiding stuff, but whether it’s paying no taxes, not actually tithing, or being ineligible to run for governor of MA, is a tossup. (My guess: all three, plus some stuff we haven’t thought of – yet.)

  21. Jeff Kaye says:

    The past four years have certainly showed that working people have no dog in this hunt. They will do no better under the Democrats than they have under the GOP. Both are parties of millionaires. The tens of millions shut out of any possible hope of financial security by the policies of both parties have nothing to gain by involving themselves in the game of supposed differences between Obama and Romney.

    Oh there are differences, to be sure. But then, there’s differences between poodles and Chihuahuas, but they are both still dogs.

    I seem to remember when the GOP was making hay over the tax returns of John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. — It’s all a side show.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  22. JohnLopresti says:

    When WordPerfect Corporation broke up, the executive gave a famous speech privately about income sharing with employees.

    The tithing imbroglio appears to weigh about as much as the residency, deferred taxes, country of investment, timeline of Bain stock ownership encumbrances, even who was making the Bain deals while Richelieuing around as an exPrincipal. But, the religion stuff resonates with the problems endemic in the entire portfolio.

    I am sure the presumed Republican candiddate has picture ID this year, too. He will need it, depending on what state he is registered in.

  23. OrionATL says:

    i have no idea what is the case with romney’s taxes.

    i seem to recall obama refused to release some of his tax-year records, so this might be a dangerous game for his side to play.

    i have wondered though about this scenario:

    tax records reveal for some time period

    – Romney was a regular, big (even if not 10%) tither to the LEDs church

    – Romney was a u.s. citizen who paid no, or very little, taxes during that same period.

    advertisement:

    loves his church

    doesn’t give a fuck about his country,

    the country he wants to be president of.

  24. scribe says:

    @scribe: Also, from what I know about LDS, there are church rules for regular Mormons, and different rules for the elite among the Mormons. There are some families for whom, no matter how egregious the transgression, the LDS sees no evil. Except possibly by the whistleblower in bringing it up in the first place.

    Remember, there were indictments returned in the US District Court for Utah concerning the 2002 Olympics and alleged bribery in how SLC got them. And those indictments were dismissed before trial as wholly meritless after the Olympics went off “successfully”. I for one cannot remember a single federal indictment dismissed for being meritless anywhere else in my 20-plus years of practicing law. US Attorneys are too careful, too thorough, and too sure of their cases (they pick their cases carefully) to bring meritless indictments, and their grand juries don’t get out of hand. At the time, I thought the fix was in, and had been arranged within the LDS church to remove any possible taint from the Olympics. I’ll add “remove any possible taint” from Mittens’ work on them, now.

  25. rugger9 says:

    @scribe: #31
    Perhaps, but there will be a filing for MA if he was really resident there in 2010. Recall Mitt said he lived in his son’s basement as his justification for eligibility then. What quarter-billion-dollar man lived in a basement as a primary resident? Hetty Green died decades ago, and we see that Mittens doesn’t stint on comfort, after all. What it looks to me is that we have a real-life voter fraud situation, as well as [from the older returns] eligibility fraud for MA governor. Both are felonies, and would resonate well with the TEA party fanatics, especially given how much press has been given the so-called “voter fraud” issue by the GOP and their Faux News / CNN Pravdas. As it is, prior to the MA governor run, Mitt had to retroactively revise his returns at the time to allow him to run.

    As I noted for Jettboy the troll, if Mitt has the nuts, he blows Harry out of the water now and the debate is over. There is no advantage to wait on this that I can see, and several GOP pooh-bahs agree with me. Demanding to know Harry’s source is a tactic perfected by Karl Rove to avoid prosecution on his peccadillos, in that one gets to see the evidence against you and can design the defense against that evidence. It’s the way to control the scope of the investigation, but as noted before, Mitt can make this go away now.

    The storm that would arise isn’t due to Mitt being rich [after all, Warren Buffet is richer, and remains well respected, even Larry Ellison is better liked than Mitt], as much as HOW he got rich. Warren and Larry built their empires from the ground up, Mitt built his by the destruction of viable companies from inside, after sucking out all of the dollars in the kitty and leaving debt. It was bad enough that Mitt’s surrogate Gillespie tried the risible “retroactive retirement” gambit. One wonders how the IRS would view this as a policy.

    On Mitt’s excellent European adventure, I notice no one talked about his body count in France due to his driving. Of course, he gave us lots of other things to talk about, but that is still something that needs more attention.

  26. rugger9 says:

    @scribe: #32
    One also needs to recall that Mitt “saved” the SLC Olympics using the 1.3 – 1.5 billion dollars in US taxpayer money to grease the palms, and he was not above helping out his Bain buddies while in SLC. McCain had a nasty floor speech on the subject, calling it a pork project of the worst sort. The fact no one was prosecuted is IOKIYAR at its core.

  27. Rayne says:

    Would use caution with regard to any news report, because of the words used in reporting. Note “avoid” versus “evade” — avoidance is legal, evasion is not. The mainstream media reports I’ve seen use the word “avoided.”

    Something is still very wrong here, when even Mitten’s team prevaricates about the 2009 filing. But it may only be avoidance.

  28. MadDog says:

    Der Mittster has a habit of at best, weasel-wording all of his statements, and at worst, outright lying.

    In the case of his recent statement where he’s said that “he’s paid a lot of taxes every year”, one might be prudent to parse that very carefully.

    He could be weasel-wording it to mean that he pays sales taxes on every Big Gulp he buys at 7-Eleven just like the rest of us.

    It could be weasel-wording that means he pays real estate taxes on his homes every year just like the rest of us. Or state taxes just like the rest of us.

    It does not necessarily mean that he has paid Federal income taxes every year, and all should have learned by now not to take this serial liar at his word.

    The Democrats’ message to the Mittster should continue to be pretty simple: “Put up or shut up drop out!”

  29. Harry R. Sohl says:

    You would think the LDS’s would want to vote for someone who pays his fair share of taxes – not to mention tithes.

    But, if they can hold their nose and vote for someone who profits off of disposing of murdered babies and cheats on his church’s financial obligations, more power (in this world – who knows about the next?) to them…

    ~ Harry R. Sohl

  30. sqeptiq says:

    This would also explain why Romney and other Republicans are shitting their pants over Reid’s allegations—they may fear that if Reid shares Romney’s Mormon business contacts, many more shoes may remain to fall.

  31. JGabriel says:

    Jettboy:

    Like Mitt said, “put up or shut up.”

    Just as a matter of basic logic, isn’t Mitt the one in possession of his tax returns?

    Seems like Mitt, therefore, is the only person in a position to “put up” and resolve this controversy by releasing his returns for the last 12 years.

    .

  32. JohnK says:

    The magnitude of Mitts wealth in relation to his tithes cannot be lost on the church elders. This is a cult that worships weath. If The Biship is cheating, the elders know it and are silent. How do you suppose that sits with the little people in the LDS? They pay and the Biship gets a dispensation from the church leadership.

  33. brendanx says:

    What’s going to happen when Mormon Gekko picks a running mate? Is his vice-presidential selection going to have to refuse to release his taxes, too, to avoid looking too clean by contrast?

    People are saying the VP choice will distract us from the taxes. Unh uh. It will amplify the issue.

  34. Nina says:

    I have a personal conspiracy theory about this story.

    I think that people are focusing on the LDS angle too closely. There is one person who Harry Reid works with fairly closely from time to time, who we know as a fact has seen 21 years worth of Mitt Romney’s tax returns. Someone who was screwed over by the Republican establishment, and is rich enough not to care. Someone still bitter about a lot of things, who has only tepidly come out in support of Romney.

    McCain.

  35. bell says:

    pardon my simple viewpoint, but right now this is only really hurting romney and as others have said, he could quickly end it by sharing his tax returns.. it seems simple enough, but what if he is waiting to do just this at a later date closer to election time when it would really hurt obama for making such a big deal about it? if he is clean it is going to hurt obama more and the timing will be worse later in this cycle..

  36. OrionATL says:

    @bell:

    this occurred to me as a very clever, disciplined tactic.

    but there is so much else bubbling about romney’s business career that it would astonish me if the romney returns were clean enough to pull this off.

    big business leadership and big income inevitably in my view REQUIRES big lies, big theft, big evasion, big ruthlessness. for every warren buffet, there are 99 rupert murdochs, mitt romneys, and kravitz/kohlbergs.

  37. Greg Kenner says:

    Wow! With all your unsupported theories and invented ideas into Romney’s taxes and tithes, you have put yourselves on par with the birthers. I wonder if you were so adamant back in ’07-’08 (or even now in ’12) that Obama release 11 years of tax returns, a tangible (non-electronic image) birth certificate, his college transcripts, his childhood pasport, etc, etc, etc.

    You see, all you have to do is INVENT some accusation or scandal, then call on the person to release their personal information to prove they are innocent of the INVENTED charges laid against them.

    Keep it classy, folks.

  38. Greg Kenner says:

    Oh, and by all means, take Reid at his word. He is certainly not partisan. He surely has no reason to lie about this, no reason to fabricate anything out of thin air. And I am sure he has never lied or twisted facts for the Democrat’s (or his own) cause–EVER!

    Oh, and I’m sure nothing he ever does, like making sure his son’s client gets some federal dollars thrown their way, have ever even approached unethical or questionable behavior. Conflict of interest? Please! We know that, by definition, the integrity of the people involved have nothing to do with determining whether something is a conflict of interest, that only the actual circumstances matter–and that anyone with integrity would indeed remove themselves from situations where such a conflict of interest arose. But now that is just being petty. In this case, we are talking about Harry Reid–a man so full of integrity he knows no conflict, and could therefor never be involved in what would otherwise be a clear conflict of interest.

    So, Reid said something supposedly damning about the Democrat’s biggest political opponent at the moment, with nothing to back it up? Well, it must be true. We know he’s not a political hack by any stretch of the imagination, just your typical honest, straight-shooting, affable Democratic US Senator.

  39. theod says:

    @Jettboy: Yes, Mormons might not be allowed to lie or deceive other Mormons because it would be wrong. They are supposed to reserve all of their lies & deceits for the Gentiles. That’s allowed and promoted, however quietly.

  40. bell says:

    @Greg Kenner: @Greg Kenner:
    hi greg.. asking for obamas birth record was more about racism then anything else the way i read it.. it is one thing to want to go after someone due the colour of their skin and another thing to want to go after someone over the size of there bank account and whether they paid taxes or not.. reid is mormon so he does share something else in common with romney that you might like to overlook.. what do you think of the hate crime that just happened in wisconsin and do you think party lines breaks down along racial lines? it seems to me it does and it also seems to me mormonism is a very ‘white’ religion.. whether they attract folks like page and neo-nazi groups remains to be seen, but again – i think wondering about whether someone has paid taxes is very different then challenging a person based on race which is how i saw that whole focus on seeing obamas birth cert..

    i think race is an interesting conversation from a political point of view and although i know both parties pay lip service to the idea of eqaulity, emptywheels latest post is another interesting point for conversation that you might like to comment on, instead of here with me, lol.. cheers –

  41. Comrade Carter says:

    Greg Kenner, I guess you never got to see his birth certificate, nor hear the Governor of Hawaii, a Republican, say it was real.

    So sorry, for you.

  42. rugger9 says:

    @Greg Kenner: #51
    Nice way to leap to conclusions, and you’re a birther, no doubt, even though the long form HAS been released, the GOP governor of HI supported Obama on the birther issue, and Joe’s posse found nothing and insulted the Hawaiians along the way. You are the rube the GOP counts on.

    Bottom line, if Harry was lying, Mitt releases the returns and blows Harry out of the water. Sure Reid’s partisan [though not like the TEAbagger is], but he has over the course of the years pissed off the Democrats by being generally wimpy on most key issues. So, the fact he’s come out and doubled down as forcefully as he has makes it clear to me he really has something here. Mitt’s failure to do anything other than namecalling [like Limpy the gasbag did today on dittohead central with “blabbermouth” Schultz], along with Reince and the rest of the wingnuts like you], tells me Mitt’s got no defense.

    But, I’ll be fair, how about releasing the last seven years since we have to hold that many for IRS review anyhow? How about the state returns so we can see where Mitt lived, officially? The reason Mitt won’t release his returns has to do with what’s in them, and it is worse than the sh__storm he’s getting now.

  43. Greg Kenner says:

    @theod: “They are supposed to reserve all of their lies & deceits for the Gentiles”. Do you know how idiotic that comment is? I have been going to the LDS church for nearly 38 years. There is no such teaching as what you claim.

  44. Greg Kenner says:

    @bell #53

    I have yet to have anyone explain to me exactly how the birther thing is about racism. Questioning someone’s NATIONALITY is a question of CITIZENSHIP, and has nothing to do with racism. The questions are able to be brought up because his father was a foreigner (that mostly blacks live in Kenya is irrelevant to this issue), and that he lived in a foreign country (that mostly asians live in Indonesia is, again, irrelevant) for several years in his young childhood, and may have been registered in school there as a citizen of that country, etc. “Kenyan” and “Indonesian” are not, to my knowledge, races–they are nationalities. Please explain where I am wrong, and try your hardest to avoid the “it’s a dog whistle”, “all Republicans are racist”, “we already know those making the accusations are racost, therefor it is obvious this is racist”, etc. Please explain logically WHAT this has to do with race and HOW it has to do with race.

    I am a mormon. That may increase my chances of having a shared friend or acquaintance who is also a mormon. Other than that, I don’t know what nuance I would be missing by not mentioning that Reid and Romney are both mormon. That has no bearing on what I’m discussing.

    I am not even going to get into the WI crime, which is indeed horrendous, because that is totally off topic here. I will say though, that your comment about whether mormonism attracts neo-nazis would be lauhable, if it wasn’t so insulting. What a stunningly ignorant comment!

  45. Greg Kenner says:

    @rugger #54:

    I am not a birther. I’m pretty sure 0 was born in Hawaii. But he has not released his long form BC. He has released an electronic image of was is supposedly his lfbc. And Sherrif Joe’s posse does not agree with you that they have found nothing–you made that up. So, with all the questions about where he was born, what citizenship he was registered under while at school in Indonesia, and at Harvard, etc., all he has provided is a single electronic image. He has not answered all the questions swirling about him any more than Romney has.

    My point is, you are using the same tactic as the birthers: “All these problems and these accusations and these clouds over your head (which problems and accusations and clouds were manufactured for this very purpose) will all go away if you just provide the documents we want to see.”

    Otherwise, we can spen our life accusing people of all sorts of trash, for the sole puspose of getting information we wanted for some other reason. It’s called fishing and smear tactics and mud slinging, and both sides do it. Why? Because it works on rubes like you, on both sides.

  46. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Overall very high net worth, opaque and possibly illegal business taxes, and tax “planning” (offshoring, cheating) are the usual suspects for why Mr. Romney might want to avoid disclosing his returns. Not to mention his wish to avoid making public his claimed profits and valuations on specific assets, which might be listed in schedules, which could be embarrassing or embarrassingly different from their true values.

  47. rugger9 says:

    @earlofhuntingdon: #61
    I’m not so sure mere financial issues, if merely embarrassing, are enough to dig in like this. After all, if it is one thing the wingnuts and Mittens have proved through the last three presidential election cycles [along with the midterms] it is that they have no shame on mere financial matters [see Walsh, Joe on being a deadbeat dad and a TEAbagger darling]. Look how Crossroads GPS and AFP have been coordinating with the Romney campaign, even meeting openly last week, in clear violation of their 501c)4 status and daring the FEC and IRS to do something about it. So, I don’t think it is merely a financial issue or set of issues. There is something more fundamental at stake, not tithing either since no one outside the LDS would really care, but a residency problem where Mitt is on a forked stick of felonious conduct.

  48. emptywheel says:

    @Greg Kenner: It is not invented that he undertithed in 2010 (I had frankly assumed he had tithed a full 10%, I was wrong). It is not invented that he has all sorts of tax shelters that, while entirely legal, bespeak a great deal of disloyalty to the country. And that’s just the stuff he has let us see.

    So it is totally accurate to say he’s cheating at least his country and possibly his church. You may find that a mark of leadership. I find it a mark of a parasite.

  49. emptywheel says:

    @Greg Kenner: For starters, because the Presidential candidate in 2008 about whom there was doubt about legality of running was McCain, not Obama. Obama was born in a US state. McCain was not.

    Now maybe you think Panama is more American than Hawaii. But unless you’ve got a good reason for that, then I’d ask why you’re so sure McCain is an American, but Obama is not?

  50. Bob Schacht says:

    @Jim White: “@freepatriot: Yep, getting old does indeed suck, but it beats the alternative. I’m coming up on the one year anniversary of getting a valve job, and my ticker is still ticking.”

    I’m celebrating my 21st anniversary of my dual valve job, so you’ve got a way to go.

    Sen. Harry Reid is a genius.

    And welcome back, Freep!

    Bob in AZ

  51. bell says:

    @Greg Kenner:
    hi greg. maybe i am reading too much into other peoples actions and am wrong on the thought that wanting a long birth cert for obama isn’t about racism, but it is my impression that it is about that and as emptywheel has pointed out with mccain, it only seems to be an issue for obama here for some strange reason that i think actually is a concealed form of racism.. now, maybe i am wrong and i would be quite happy if i was, but i don’t think i am.
    as for the mormon religion, i have read the book of mormon which might not mean much to anyone – but it was in a spirit of open-ness and consideration for a friend who happened to be mormon and i got the distinct impression it didn’t take a kindly view to the black race.. now, maybe i read it wrong and the fact people like gladys knight and other black folks are a part of the mormon faith must mean there is room for all races under the mormon religion.. as for everything else i have said, i apologize for saying something you found offensive, but i get a weird feeling from mormonism and it is hard to describe.. for those who are happy and feel good about their involvement with the mormon relgion – kudos to them.

  52. irishdave3 says:

    @Jettboy: Chicken Mitt isn’t called the Great Avoider for no reason…Maybe releasing his taxes returns would constitute “putting up’?

  53. irishdave3 says:

    Is Focks news using their standard playbook of Some people say Chicken Mitt paid no taxes…just askin.

  54. Procopius says:

    @Arbusto: It’s not necessarily tax evasion. Willard pays big bucks to very high-powered tax advisors on how to structure his holdings to pay the smallest amount of tax required by law. There’s nothing illegal about that, as the IRS found out back in the ’30s when they tried to sue some multi-millionaire for doing just that. The Supremes ruled that no citizen has a duty to arrange his affairs to pay more taxes. But bear in mind I was trained as an accountant, so the difference is clear to me. To your average voter it probably wouldn’t be. They would just see that he paid nothng, or very little. That’s why what’s already been revealed doesn’t help him. When voters see the percentage laid out for them, at least some of them realize what Willard gets away with.

  55. Greg Kenner says:

    @rugger #60 – You originally stated that “Joe’s posse found nothing”. Google “joe’s posse”, read any of the first few links that come up, and it will be immediately clear that you are wrong. I guess it depends on what you mean by “nothing”. But the posse certainly feels like it found probable cause, and it explains the details very clearly. You may think there is “nothing” to it, but they don’t.

  56. Greg Kenner says:

    @emptywheel #63 – It is NOT clear that Romney undertithed. The LDS church does not comb through our finances to make sure we have paid exactly 10% of our exact earnings for a given year. Once a year, they ask us, we answer, they take our word for it. As far as hitting exactly 10% for a specific year, it’s often a timing thing. I have paid less than 10% myself in certain years, and more than 10% the previous or the following year. For example, one year I earned a very large commission at year’s end, but I was out on vacation at year’s end, and instead of mailing my tithing in, I waited about three weeks until I returned from vacation, took the time to look over what I owed, and remembered to write the check and bring it to church. So, while my meeting with the church is annual, the question is “are you a full tithe payer”, and NOT “Have you 100% accurately paid exactly 10% of your income THIS YEAR for all monies earned THIS YEAR?” We do not think God works on such a timetable.

    Romney’s finances are much more complicated than mine. Some people pay tithing quarterly, some weekly, some annually. Some pay by gross income, som eby net. Some pay on stock increases for the year or dividends, some onyl do that once the dollars are taken out of the stock and hit a savings or checking account. Some pay by cash, check, stocks, etc. It can indeed be quite complex. The timing and nature of his tithing payments are unclear from a single tax return filing. And really, it is none of our business to get to the bottom of his tithes.

    As for Romney’s tax filings, you are using the same class warfare as always. We should not criticize people for obeying the law and paying the taxes they owe. We should not criticize people for NOT paying more taxes than they owe. If you feel that is unpatriotic, then please answer me how many rich liberals pay extra taxes instead of leveraging the same or similar laws to minimize their tax liability. And in spote of all of these “loopholes” (which really are just a par tof the law, not an escaoe from the law), somehow these guys are still paying the lions share of income taxes, so I’m ok with that. And, if we don’t like those laws, we should change them. But I don’t see Dems or Repubs ever really making any serious effort to do that.

    I understand that candidates running for public office should release certain information so that the voting public knows more about who they are putting into office, and I agree with that line of thought. I actually do want Romney to release more tax returns, though I am not hung up on it. I suspect it will just give fodder to the class warfare folks who take advantage of people’s jealousy over others’ success. And really, while it would be nice to have documented proof of everything about everyone running for any office of interest to us, there is no uniform rule on this. And so candidates will take advantage of it both to hide things, and to accuse their oppenents of hiding things.

  57. Greg Kenner says:

    @emptywheel #64 – The issue is what it means to be a “natural born citizen”. Not just citizen at birth, or native born citizen, but “natural born citizen”.

    The question for McCain would be, “are you a natural born citizen if you were born outside of the US, even though both your parents were US citizens?” McCain’s BC has no bearing on that question, because nobody is disputing where or to whom McCain was born (in the Panama Canal Zone to 2 American parents). I think McCain already went through that in the 2000 primaries vs GWB, so it was not rehashed as much in 2008.

    The birthers ask one of two questions (or both) about Obama:
    1) “Are you a natural bron citizen if one of your parents is a foreigner?” No BC is needed here either, since nobody disputes his father was indeed a foreigner.

    2) “Are you a natural born citizen if you were born outside of the US to at least one foreigner?” The BC would be needed to show 0 was not born in the US.

    The merits of the birther’s argument is one thing. The reason they are asking for his BC and not McCain’s, however, makes total since when you understand the questions being asked. Again, I don’t see where race plays a part.

  58. rugger9 says:

    @Greg Kenner: #71
    I don’t count World Nut Daily as a reliable news source, nor Faux News, or Newsmax or Malkin or any of their ilk. Recall how the first time your side tried to claim there was a Kenyan BC and even posted it with appropriate fanfare, only to find out it referred to a political entity that was created two years later. Like I said, nice try. After all, the only two reasons for the “posse” was to 1) remove Obama from the ballot in AZ so Mittens would win the state, and 2) deflect attention away from Joe’s own court case where I see he has been blaming everyone else for the things he said and did like the COWARD he is. That it would dfelct attention away from Mitt’s TAX issue is gravy. And, exactly how do you explain Rep King’s BS on telegrams?

    There is nothing there for birthers like you, and the fact you drag the dead horse out after it’s been made into hamburger tells me you’ve got nothin’ to defend Mitt on the TAX issue. At least come up with something new instead of recycling the old dreck. I see you’ve brought out the Rev Jeremiah again too. Retreads galore.

  59. Greg Kenner says:

    @rugger9: I’ll say it again, slowly so that you can understand: I…am…not…a…birth…er. Got it?

    And I don’t care who you rely on as a reliable new source, and I don;t see what that has to do with anything I wrote.

    I am comparing the birthers to the class warfarists who demand Romney provide his tax records to prove he didn’t commit a crime, or that he isn’t unpartriotic–things invented out of whole cloth. I am trying to illustrate how anyone can make up any claim or accusation about another, without providing proof or any evidence of any kind, in a game of gotcha politics, –give me a break! I am not going to explain this again. Read my other posts, and if you still don’t get it, you never will.

    I am actually in favor of just about all politicians opening up their records on many aspects of their lives. There needs to be much more transparency from all politicians. The pre-presidency 0 was a big supporter of transparency. Now he only supports Republican transparency, while absolving himself of that promise completely and without explanation (although he did explain why he didn’t wait at least 3 days(?) to sign bills anymore–no time to wait. Get real.).

    I would love for Romney to release every year of tax returns he has. Obama, too.

    I would love for Romney to release his college records, such as admission papers, application forms, scholarship documentation if any, grades, published work of any articles written as an editor of any school newspaper if any, etc. Obama, too.

    I would love for Romney to release his hard copy BC in any and every version it is available, as well as any and all paperwork related to any time he lived abroad: passports he may have had or passports belonging to his parents that his name was on or was removed from; visas if applicable; addresses where he lived; enrollment applications, records, etc. to schools abroad; and so on. Obama, too.

    I would love for Romney to release a limited amount of pertinent health records. Obama, too.

    I think you get the point.

    What I don’t want is for one side to say the other must release certain documents because there is a legitimate concern in their eyes; while at the same time refusing to release documents of their own because there is no reason for concern in their eyes.

  60. Greg Kenner says:

    @rugger9: “I see you’ve brought out the Rev Jeremiah again too”.

    Where do you see that? I wonder if maybe you are indeed reading more than one comment board at a time, and losing track of who posted what?

  61. rugger9 says:

    @Greg Kenner: @Greg Kenner: #76, #77
    Well, if you continue to claim that Obama never provided the long form birth certificate [which he did], as well as defending the “posse” of Joe Arpaio conniving with the AZ secretary of state to get Obama kicked off the ballot, you’re a birther. Your own words on this board don’t support your claims of objectivity.

    As for false equivalencies, the birther claim was false from the very first day, debunked time and again, and is still being tossed around by your side as if it was new. Romney’s tax return issue remains one because of the lies Romney told on various official government filings [it’s what got Martha Stewart sent to jail, btw] as well as retroactively revising the returns to magically become eligible for the MA governorship, and doing again to retroactively retire from Bain when certain unfortunate connections were made. Keep in mind here that even the only return released so far [the 2010 Federal] forced the Romney campaign to admit to the offshore accounts not previously revealed in official filings. I’d also wonder whether Mitt committed voter fraud by voting in the MA US Senate special election as a NH resident, or whether he was ineligible to run for MA governor because he was a UT resident, or the fraud on numerous SEC filings saying he was sole owner of Bain assets years after he “retired” to run the SLC Olympics. This pattern of lying on official documents is ongoing, longstanding, well supported by objective evidence, and completely relevant to Mitt’s qualification as President. I’ll leave out the dancing horse, for now.

    It’s unpatriotic as well as illegal to do any business with Iran, a sworn enemy since 1978 [we’re still in a state of war], although not only did the Reagan WH sell them F-14 repair parts to finance the Contras, they actually colluded with the mullahs to keep the hostages on ice until after the 1980 election. Bain and its subsidiaries [as well as Cheney’s Halliburton] have been doing it for years.

    It’s unpatriotic to ship jobs overseas as a business plan. Bain pioneered the practice in 1994 and compounded the offense by taking out viable companies, loading them with debt, paying the financiers [i.e Bain] first, and then letting the husk go bankrupt. As I had noted before, Buffett, Gates, and Ellison don’t get this blowback because even though they are richer than Mittens is [we think] they weren’t vulture capitalists that created nothing but debt, certainly not jobs. No cherry-picking allowed on this point, either.

    It’s unpatriotic to spend 1.3 to 1.5 billion dollars in taxpayer money to bail out the SLC Olympics and then claim you did it yourself. remember that Mitt had to sign a no conflict agreement [that’s why the 1999 “retroactive retirement” date was so critical at Bain, it wasn’t just the dead fetus disposal business and other social conservative problems], and there are some questions making the rounds whether Mitt tried to steer contracts to buddies and business partners in violation of his NCA. As far as I am concerned, putting on the good show was important enough, and frankly some graft is expected. Anything under Mitt was peanuts compared to what went on before Mitt got there, so that aspect doesn’t bother me as much as it does others. It’s the BS about saying he did it himself without any help. McCain had something to say about it in 2002 on the Senate floor.

    As far as talking about Jeremiah, I thought it was quite clear I was referring to YOUR SIDE. You can now get the O’Keefe award for selective editing and out of context claims.

    Enjoy.

  62. Greg Kenner says:

    “the birther claim was false from the very first day, debunked time and again”
    Every claim about everything is either true or false from the very first day. That is irrelevant. The birther claim, the Romney tax claims, etc, are all either true or false and that veracity will never change. The issue is whether a claim is proven to be true or false. And the 0 US birth was NOT debunked time and time again.

    A Certificate of Live Birth was provided eventually; but back when 0 was born, a family member could easily have gotten one of those for a baby NOT born in HI, and that would have triggered the 2 newspaper birth announcements (the lists of babies born did not come from the hospital, but from the state). That is simply factual. Is that what happened in 0’s case? I doubt it. (Now, the thought is NOT that 0’s grandparents did this as part of a massive conspiracy to get him elected as POTUS 40+ years later, rather as a way to make sure their grandson would be a US citizen–lots of people want that, and underdstandably so.). Regardless, the COLB did provide evidence the 0 was born in HI, but it did not prove it.

    The Long Form Birth Certificate any of us has seen is only a digital image, supposedly an unaltered scan of a newly printed copy of his LFBC. There is evidence (not proof) that this image is altered. Nobody (left or right) has been able to reproduce a scan with the same or nearly the same charactersitics as was produced by this scan. That is fact. If anyone can point me to a link that shows someone actually has done this (the same layering effect in the same places, the same appearance of different fonts, the same appearance of sharp versus blended letters to the background, the same inconsistencies in letter spacing, etc.), great. That will simply cement my current belief that 0 was born in HI. Until then, I can see how others would doubt, since their is evidence here, but no proof either way.

    As for 0’s citizenship status at later times in his life, that could only be debunked if 0 released all docs pertaining to the things I already mentioned in a previous post (childhood and college school records, passports, adoption records, etc.). I would personally love it if he released those and it showed he was adopted by his step dad and became an Indonesian citizen, or that he was admitted into any of his schools or got scholarships due to being listed as a foreign student, etc. I’d love it, but I doubt that’s what would happen if he released those docs. But I still want him to release them, and he has not proved his citizenship status until he does. (Of course, he has no obligation to prove himself innocent of every accusation. It is quite the opposite in America, right?)

  63. Greg Kenner says:

    As for all of 0’s other problems that seem illegal, “unpatriotic”, a cover-up, etc, he not being transparent (remember that promise? What fools ever actually beleived that one?). So I ould love for him to actually provide the full documentation and truth surrounding:

    Solyndra (all other large Obama and Dem bundlers whose companies got the “loans”) – Level of Obama admin (from the top down) involvment and knowledge and interference into loan approval. And how did it end up that about 3/4 of all these loans went to large Obama and DNC donors (political allies getting a hefty return on their investment, no?).

    Fast and Furious – Level of Obama admin (from the top down) involvment and knowledge and approval of this murderous fiasco. We already know the admin nhave lied about this. Holder claiming to misunderstand a 100% simple and straightforward question about when they learned about F&F. Holder claiming that emails referring to the “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation weren’t actually referring to THE Fast and Furious gun-running operation. Oh, sure. And even if that were true, then how many other Fast and Furious gun-running programs are there exactly? At least two by that name. More? And how many by some other name. Man, this falls apart fast.

    2008 donors list: Where did many of this “transparent” man’s donations come from over the internet? Clearly, he has no obligation to report donations under $50 (I think that’s the number), but he also is bound by law not to accept foreign donations. Technology is easily in place to know who made the donations and from where, but 0 never shared any of that when reports came out of potentially large amounts of donations being made from foreigners. Same applies for the ability of one person to donate multiple small amounts using cash cards, and thus exceeding legal donation limits. Obama played a “hear no evil, see no evil” attitude on that.

    I could go on, but you get the point. I’d love it if the Big 0, Mr. Transpareny himself, would release all of his docs related to all of his scandals and questionable actions.

  64. Greg Kenner says:

    All the accusations you levy against Romney fall into the same category–accusations based on partisan bias and speculation. You would love it if he released more tax returns and it proved he was a tax cheat, an unfaithfull mormon, a legal tax evader who used evil loopholes to lower his tax liability, and/or that he paid zero taxes, etc. You would love it, but I doubt that’s what would happen if he released those docs. But I still want him to release them, and he has not proved his tax honest, patriotism and legality until he does. (Of course, he has no obligation to prove himself innocent of every accusation. It is quite the opposite in America, right?)

  65. Greg Kenner says:

    As for Bain, every business they took over was FAILING before they took them over. Every one of them. To save businesses, you make changes. Some of those changes may be:
    – outsourcing off-shore
    – outsourcing on-shore (other US companies)
    – consolidating operations
    – adjusting business plans and business models
    – focusing on more or less products, geographies, demographics, etc.

    Ultimately, Bain could have simply not existed, not bought into any of the companies, and let all of the companies bottom out right away. Instead, they kept most of them going for at least a few more years, some even longer, and some permanently and growing to this day. With Bain, more people kept their jobs for more years. If I had to choose to either lose my job TODAY, or lose it in 4 years, I’d pick 4 years. If I had to choose to either lose my job TODAY and have $0 salary, or keep my job with a pay cut, I’d choose the pay cut. If I had to choose between me and all of my co-workers lose their job, or half of us lose them while other people were hired in Alabama, I’d choose the one that kept half of us employed. Am I claiming Bain is an altruistic company whos sole purpose is to act as savior for the working man? No. They got really rich doing what they do, but they hepled others in the process WAY MORE than they hurt. Is some of what they do/did cold and calculating? Yes. They are running a business. You can’t make a failing business viable by making ecisions based on every need of every person. If you do that, the entire business goes under and you do the most damage possible–you get EVERYONE laid off QUICKLY EVERY TIME. The warm and fuzzy of liberalism often seems great on the surface, but causes much more damage than the cold evil capitalism on the right. No pain, no gain. As long as the constant fluctuation of increase vs decrease trends upward, the nation as a whole, and all citizens in the long run, improve their qulaity of life. Any attmpts to keep everyone equal and avoid any possible pain, results in a flatline trend where everyone’s qulaity of life remains stagnant or worse (equal suffering for all).

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