Few in Congress have released tax returns, report shows
Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET
(CBS News) Mitt Romney has come under fire from every direction for refusing to release more than two years' worth of tax returns, but many of his critics in Congress are refusing to disclose their own returns, a new report shows.
Over the course of three months, McClatchy Newspapers asked all 535 members of Congress to release their most recent tax returns, and just 17 members complied with the request. Nineteen congressmen refused while most never responded.
Like Romney, many members of Congress are far wealthier than the average American. And like the president of the United States, those congressmen stand to benefit from the tax policies they shape. Currently, the law only requires members of Congress to report their wealth and liabilities in broad ranges.
(Boehner discusses Romney's tax returns in video to the left.)
Among those who refused to turn over their returns to McClatchy were Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi -- both of whom have sharply criticized Romney for failing to be more transparent.
"The leader has filed a complete financial disclosure report as required by law that includes financial holdings, transactions and other personal information," Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami told McClatchy. "There has been no question about where Leader Pelosi and Democrats stand on tax policy: We must extend the middle-class tax cuts and end tax breaks for millionaires and use the revenues to pay down the deficit."
Romney has made the same argument himself. Monday on Fox News, Romney said of the 2010 return he's released and the 2011 return he's promised to release: "It's hundreds of pages of documents, and by the way, none of the tax returns are required by law to be put out. What is required by law - the financial disclosure - has already been made."
At least one member of Congress thinks Romney should legally be required to disclose more -- Democratic Rep. Sandy Levin of Michigan this week said he will introduce legislation that would require presidential candidates to make public 10 years of tax returns and disclose overseas accounts.
When asked by CBS News on Thursday why Romney should go beyond the legal requirement, Pelosi responded, "If you want to be president of the United States, shouldn't you have to live up to the standard that is there for your cabinet?"
Asked why the rules should be different for members of Congress, she said, "When I run for president of the United States, you can hold me to that standard."
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