(WASHINGTON) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in an interview with the Huffington Post, was apparently happy to spread a totally unsubstantiated rumor regarding Gov. Mitt Romney.
Democrats have criticized Romney for not releasing more than two years of his tax returns — he argues that’s all the law requires.
The presumptive GOP candidate has said he always paid all of the taxes he was required by law to pay, and has said releasing more tax returns would likely not quiet critics.
There has never been any evidence to suggest that Romney’s tax bill was zero — but that didn’t stop Sen. Reid from repeating a third-hand rumor that Romney hasn’t paid taxes in a decade.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Reid said that a month ago someone who invested with Bain Capital, called his office to say that Romney, “didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.”
“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?”
“You guys have said his wealth is $250 million,” Reid continued. “Not a chance in the world. It’s a lot more than that. I mean, you do pretty well if you don’t pay taxes for 10 years when you’re making millions and millions of dollars.”
Reid has in the past called on Romney to release more of his tax returns just as the Obama campaign and other top Democrats have. But the interview marked the first time Reid has suggested that, per his informant, Romney had not paid taxes for a decade.
The majority leader said that Romney’s father, George Romney would be, “embarrassed about this son.” George Romney turned over 12 years of his own tax returns when he ran for president.
Romney has so far released his 2010 returns and an estimate for 2011. Those two years are all Romney says he will release, arguing that no matter how many years he releases critics will always want more.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ariane de Vogue and Laura Jarrett, CNN
Lee Montana Newspapers
Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Dylan Byers, CNN