Romney’s latest reason for not releasing tax returns? It would show how much he gave the Mormon church

Updated

Mitt Romney is now claiming that part of the reason he won’t release more of his tax returns is because he doesn’t what to reveal how much money he gives to the Mormon church.

“Our church doesn’t publish how much people have given,” the presumed Republican presidential nominee told Parade magazine in an interview that will be published this weekend. Excerpts were posted by the Salt Lake Tribune.

“This is done entirely privately. One of the downsides of releasing one’s financial information is that this is now all public, but we had never intended our contributions to be known. It’s a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church,” Romney added. 

The multimillionaire has been under pressure for months from Team Obama and the press to release more years of tax returns. Romney has made public his 2010 tax returns and estimates for 2011 but has said he won’t reveal any more years of returns.

As msnbc host Rachel Maddow pointed out Thursday, Romney hasn’t been shy about discussing his charitable giving, publicly saying several times that he has given 10% of his income to the church.

It “used to be the thing Mitt Romney most wanted to talk about,” Maddow said.”The only thing he wanted you to know about his taxes is that he gave 10% to his church….Now that specific information, which the Romneys keep volunteering to the press, we’re now supposed to think that information is so private that it alone must preclude the release of their tax returns.” 

Reuters’ David Cay Johnston told msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell on The Last Word that Team Romney “could easily redact that little section of the return if that’s what he’s worried about. This is silly.” 

Ann Romney recently said the couple was hesitant to disclose any more tax returns because it would give their critics “more ammunition.” 

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama

Romney's latest reason for not releasing tax returns? It would show how much he gave the Mormon church

Updated