Mitt Romney’s campaign has pushed back against calls he release more tax returns by insisting that former presidential candidates have only publicized a couple of years of tax documents.
“Well, as you know, the standard of– of releasing fully two years of returns, which goes above what the law requires, was a standard that Senator John McCain had adhered to as the Republican nominee in the last presidential campaign,” Romney adviser Ed Gillespie explained on Meet The Press this Sunday. “This is standard Senator Kerry adhered to as the Democratic nominee in the– in the election before that.”
But Gillespie, who served as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee during the 2004 presidential election, must know that “Kerry had put a total of 20 years of tax returns into the public domain by the time he ran for president.” After all, throughout that campaign he personally insisted that Kerry’s wife Teresa Heinz-Kerry, who files taxes separately from her husband, publicize her tax information — a position that is in direct conflict with his current spin for Romney. From an October 14, 2004 RNC press release:
“Throughout history, presidential candidates have disclosed income tax information prior to Election Day. We believe Americans value disclosure and transparency in campaigns.
During the 2003 filing year, Sen. Kerry made a $6 million loan to his campaign based on the value of a home jointly owned with his wife.
“Were it not for that infusion of cash John Kerry might not be on the campaign trail today. Because of her financial interest in the presidential campaign of her husband, Teresa Heinz Kerry pledged to disclose her tax information on October 15. Tomorrow is October 15 and Americans will find out if they plan to keep that promise.”
Throughout the 2004 campaign, Republicans pressured Heinz-Kerry to publicize her tax returns, given her investment in her husband’s campaign. She eventually released more information in October of that year, as Gillespie insisted that the documents presented “a legitimate question” for voters. Eight years later, the former RNC head is singing a decidedly different tune.