Back in January, Mitt Romney drew a hard line in response to questions about releasing his tax returns: no. He might “consider” it after the election, but not before.
The winds shifted a bit when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), one of Romney’s most notable surrogates, sold him out. Appearing on msnbc and NBC, Christie said he releases his returns, and it “would be my preference” if Romney did the same thing: “What I would say to Governor Romney is, if you have tax returns to put out, you know, you should put them out.”
Soon after, Romney released some limited tax materials for one year, which hardly constituted disclosure. Now that questions about his finances are back, the Republican candidate is once again finding one of his own high-profile allies undermining his message.
For those who can’t watch clips online, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) was on CNN yesterday, and Wolf Blitzer asked, “Yes or no, tax returns, should he release the tax returns?” Barbour replied, “I would.”
In fairness, it’s worth noting that Barbour, in the same appearance, went on to say that he doesn’t think the returns should matter. Still, the Mississippi Republican believes Romney would be better off disclosing the materials, rather than keeping them secret.
For his part, Romney told an Iowa radio station yesterday about his finances, “I don’t manage them. I don’t even know where they are. That trustee follows all U.S. laws. All the taxes are paid, as appropriate. All of them have been reported to the government. There’s nothing hidden there.”
There are several unanswered questions about Romney’s offshore investments, and I’m afraid “I don’t manage them” isn’t much of a response.