Zero. That is the number of full IRS returns W. Mitt Romney has disclosed.
He claims that he disclosed his 2010 returns. Repeatedly.
But it is not true.
It turns out Romney either lied to the American public or filed an incomplete and incompetent IRS return in 2010.
W. Mitt Romney is hiding the document that reveals more information about the money he is hiding in financial institutions favored by despots, terrorists, drug dealers, money launderers and tax cheats.
Specifically he is hiding the IRS document that gives details about his Swiss Bank Account, known as the Report on Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts.
On his financial disclosure, Romney has shown a shocking pattern of inconsistency which not only raises questions of his honesty they also raise questions of his competency.
Perhaps he is unable to handle this task. And if he cannot handle managing his personal finances, perhaps he should not be in charge of handling our finances as well.
Reporters have uncovered that W. Mitt Romney's tax returns and financial disclosure forms do not match – there are a number of accounts that appear on the tax returns he never intended for the public to see but are not on his public financial disclosure form.
For example, the Swiss Bank Account Romney is hiding from the voters.
Given all the confusion around W. Mitt Romney's retroactive retirement from Bain, perhaps the discrepancies between his story and paper work filed with the FEC and with state agencies are just another example of Mitt Romney's incompetence and inability to manage.
If it is not incompetency, then Romney has something really, really bad to hide. Something that he believes is politically deadly. There are a number of options, including, but not limited to:
The possibility that in some years Romney has paid zero dollars in taxes;
The details of the schemes that allowed his IRA to grow to over $100 million;
The details of his offshore accounts and if Romney used illegal or questionable tax shelters;
His participation in the amnesty program for individuals that used Swiss Bank accounts to hide money from the IRS;
The possibility that he used his Swiss Bank account to hide business dealings with countries, like Iran, that are banned from doing business with the United States.
According to tax law experts, one of the benefits of having a Swiss Bank Account, in addition to hiding money from the IRS, is that it acts as a shield from unsavory business dealings. In fact the only reason to have a Swiss Bank account, if you are not hiding money from the IRS, is the secrecy that shields the way you made the money you are declaring.
For example, under Romney's leadership the U.S. Olympic committee came under fire in 2002 for purchasing tracksuits from the military government in Burma. If Romney, hypothetically, had further business dealing with Burma it is possible to hide that activity with his Swiss Bank Account while declaring the profits and paying taxes on them.
One thing we have learned from Romney is that one of the companies he set up in the Cayman Islands was set up for the express purpose of shielding foreign companies form paying the IRS taxes on investments made in the U.S.
If these are the kind of details he is willing to share, then what must he be hiding?
We won't know any of the answers until W. Mitt Romney discloses his tax returns. If he chooses to defy bipartisan calls for disclosure, details will continue to slowly emerge raising more and more questions over the next 16 weeks.
Team Romney in Boston is working on fomenting xenophobia as a political strategy. It is highly ironic that W. Mitt Romney has taken to calling the President "extraordinarily foreign" – it is a term that is far more descriptive of Romney's financial portfolio than it is for an American President. For a candidate with questionable foreign finances they, much like the worker in the Priorities USA ad, may at some point feel like they built their own coffin.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.
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