Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has jumped on Mitt Romney’s lucrative career in the private sector as head of Bain Capital, a private equity group that paid Romney generously while closing companies and cuting thousands of jobs. But Romney’s high net worth — estimated to be in excess of $200 million — and his ongoing retirement from package from Bain — understood to pay Romney millions of dollars per year — has put new scrutiny on the former Massachusetts governor’s unwillingness to disclose his tax returns.
Last night, Newt Gingrich’s campaign sought to capitalize on Romney’s unwillingness to release tax returns and sent reporters the following email:
Just in case you were curious, Newt Gingrich plans to release his income tax returns if he is the GOP nominee.
The move by the Gingrich camp comes after multiple news organizations reported on the Romney campaigns unwillingness to release the returns. Yesterday, Romney told reporters, “We don’t have any current plans to release tax returns but never say never.” In an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, Romney went further:
Mr. Romney made the statement in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, but the network did not show that part of the interview. Mr. Romney, a multimillionaire who made his fortune running a private equity firm, was asked whether he planned to release his tax return.
“I doubt it,” Mr. Romney said, according to a transcript of the interview provided by NBC News. “I will provide all the financial info, which is an extraordinary pile of documents which show investments and so forth.”
“But you won’t do the tax returns?” asked Chuck Todd, host of “The Daily Rundown.”
“I don’t intend to release the tax returns. I don’t,” Mr. Romney responded.
In 1994, Romney challenged Sen. Ted Kennedy to disclose his state and federal taxes to prove he has “nothing to hide.”
Indeed, scrutiny on Romney’s tax returns lies in the fact that Romney is likely not paying normal income tax rates on the ongoing payments from Bain. He is likely paying a capital gains tax rate of 15 percent instead of an income tax rate which, in his bracket, would be 35 percent.
Romney’s unwillingness to release his tax returns, and the Gingrich camp’s efforts to capitalize on Romney’s secrecy, could pose a challenge as Romney continues his assault on Gingrich’s lobbying and business dealings.