(MAUMEE, Ohio) — Senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod today accused Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney of being “the most secretive candidate that we’ve seen, frankly, since Richard Nixon.”
He “won’t release his tax returns, won’t reveal his bundlers, left Massachusetts with the hard drives from his computer. He believes in keeping the public in the dark,” Axelrod said in an interview with ABC News Radio behind the scenes at the first stop on Obama’s campaign bus tour through Ohio.
Axelrod said Romney’s portfolio of offshore investments — which include a Bermuda-based company, funds in the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account — raises what he called a “Bermuda Triangle” of financial questions.
“Just what were the benefits there? Did he actually pay taxes in some years? We don’t know,” he said.
“Why would you transfer your Bermuda business…to your wife the day before you became governor? Why did you not want that on your disclosure form?” he questioned later, referring to media reports that have scrutinized the holding.
Asked directly whether he is accusing Romney of tax cheating, Axelrod said no.
“The only reason to have these accounts is to shelter your taxes,” he said. “The question is, exactly what did he pay, and I think that he — there’s only one way to answer that question: if you don’t have anything to hide why not just release that information? And Gov. Romney really doesn’t have a good answer for that.”
In January, Romney released his 2010 tax return amid intense public scrutiny and pressure from his GOP primary rivals. He has declined to release returns from additional years.
The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
David Wright, CNN
Dylan Byers Sara Murray and Kevin Liptak, CNN
Dylan Byers, CNN