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Sep 212012
 

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(Bartow, Fla.) — Paul Ryan thinks the news that Mitt Romney decided to pay more in taxes, and not take as many charitable deductions as he was entitled to, in order to get to a 13 percent tax rate just shows “that the Romneys are extremely generous people.”

“They gave away 30 percent of their income to charity so Mitt Romney has always believed to whom much is given, much is required and he is living proof of that and this just shows you how generous the Romneys are as people,” Ryan said while visiting a fruit stand in Bartow, Fla. with his mother, Betty Douglas.

According to Romney’s 2011 tax returns released Friday, the Romneys donated 29.4% of their income to their church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as well as the Tyler Charitable Foundation, which donates to a variety of causes including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Homes for Our Troops.

Ryan was also asked about comments his friend and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker made earlier Friday saying the GOP vice presidential nominee was not being “utilized” enough by the Romney campaign.

“Oh, he’s just a good backer of mine, I feel very good about it,” Ryan said. “Look, I’m doing the things I want to do, I was excited to go to AARP today, decided to go the Values Voters Summit, I — look at what we’re doing. We’re talking to local people, going around the country, talking to local press, I’m excited about my role and I feel very comfortable with it.”

While buying tangerines coincidentally at a place called “Walker’s Fruit Stand,” he said he feels like he is “absolutely” being utilized enough.

Ryan said he has “come to expect” the unwelcome reception he received earlier Friday when he addressed the AARP.

“Entitlement reform has unfortunately been made very partisan by partisans and so I have gotten that kind of reaction and unfortunately it’s what we’ve come to expect because the politics of reforming entitlements has become very bitter and it’s very unfortunate  because if we let the politics get the best of us — these problems are going to get out of our control,” Ryan said. “We’ve got to fix Medicare before it goes bankrupt.”

Ryan was booed consistently at his address to the AARP’s national convention especially when he pledged to repeal the president’s signature health care legislation, also known as Obamacare.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sep 212012
 

Mario Tama/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) – After months of criticism for not being transparent enough as a presidential candidate, Mitt Romney has filed his 2011 tax returns which the campaign says shows the presidential candidate paid a 14.1 percent tax rate.

Romney paid $1.9 million in taxes on $13.7 million in income for the year 2011.

The rate falls in line with Romney’s estimate back in August that he had paid “13.6 [percent] or something like that.”

In a surprise move, the campaign will also release a summary of 20 years of returns. Romney had previously pledged to only release the two most recent years of returns.

The full returns for 2011 will be posted later Friday afternoon, as will health reports for both Romney and Ryan.

According the campaign, the Romneys donated nearly 30 percent of their income to charity in 2011.

The release of Romney’s full 2011 return and the 20 years of summaries comes after months and months of hounding by Democrats for the documents, who argued that Romney’s lack of transparency was worrisome for a could-be president.

Romney’s tax saga has been ongoing since January, when in a hastily arranged press conference after a dismal showing at a rally just days before the South Carolina primary, he disclosed that his tax rate was “probably closer to the 15 percent rate.”

At that time, Romney said it was traditional for nominees to release their returns in April — “tax season,” he explained — but the candidate back pedaled just days later, when in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace he announced he would, in fact, release the documents.

He told Wallace at the time that he’d “made a mistake for holding off” as long as he had in releasing them.

So on Jan. 24 he took the plunge, releasing his 2010 returns and an estimate of 2011 returns, which weren’t ready yet, his campaign said.

His 2010 releases show that Romney took in $21.7 million in income in 2010 and paid $3 million in taxes, a tax rate of just under 14 percent.

The returns also show that Romney gave $3 million in charitable donations in 2010, including $1.5 million to the Mormon church.

As calls intensified for him to release as many as 10 years of returns, Romney continued to point to Sen. John McCain as his role model on the issue, highlighting that McCain only released two years of his tax returns, and maintaining that he had done everything “required of him by law” when it came to his financial documents.

But the criticism only continued when it emerged that Romney’s campaign had requested “several years” of tax returns from those who were vetted as potential vice presidential candidates.

The focus on Romney’s tax returns has long irritated Romney advisers, who felt the issue took Romney off message and dominated the news cycle when they would have rather it be focused on the economy.

For example, during a press conference in August that was meant to focus on his Medicare plan, Romney was dogged about his tax rate, the candidate asked whether he’d kept his promise to ABC News, which he made during an interview in Jerusalem, to “go back and look” and see if he’d ever paid a tax rate lower than 13 percent.

“I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past ten years I never paid less than 13 percent,” Romney said at the time.

So why did Romney wait so long — and until Election Day was so close — to release his returns? The candidate and his wife told Parade magazine in August that one of the reasons they have been hesitant to release their financial documents is due to the amount of money they give the Mormon church.

“Our church doesn’t publish how much is given,” Romney told the magazine. “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.” 

======= SEE THE FULL DOCUMENTS =======

2011 Mitt & Ann Romney Return
http://abcn.ws/Q2PpAy

2011 Mitt Romney Trust Return
http://abcn.ws/NHfa9e

2011 Ann Romney Trust Return
http://abcn.ws/QIuVKY

2011 Family Trust Return
http://abcn.ws/Sci46E

Physician’s Letter on Mitt Romney’s Health
http://abcn.ws/SfChd0

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sep 052012
 

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Someone claims to have stolen years of Mitt Romney’s tax returns from a Tennessee office of the financial firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Secret Service is investigating what appears to be a ransom scheme.

The local Democratic and Republican parties in Williamson County, Tenn., where the PricewaterhouseCoopers office is located, both received packages, each containing a thumb drive and a letter outlining a competitive-bidding ransom scheme that appears designed to pit Republicans and Democrats against each other over the release of Romney’s taxes.

The letters stated an intention to publish Romney’s tax returns on Sept. 28, unless $1 million is deposited in a Bitcoin (Internet currency) account, according to Williamson County Democratic Party Chairman Peter Burr, who said both he and his Williamson County GOP counterpart received similar packages.

The Secret Service took the package from him after the local GOP contacted authorities, Burr said. The Secret Service confirmed to ABC News that it is investigating the ransom scheme.

The apparent hackers presented “two options,” Burr said. “If somebody wanted to prevent the publication of these tax records, they needed to put a million dollars into this Bitcoin account…that was to prevent them from going ahead and publishing it on September 28th. Then they went on to say that if you want to ensure that this is published before September 28th, you have the option of contributing a million dollars to this other Bitcoin account … and if you win the race … the other side will not be able to prevent the publication.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers acknowledged the scheme, first reported by the tech website Mashable, in a statement to ABC News.

“We are aware of the allegations that have been made regarding improper access to our systems. We are working closely with the United States Secret Service, and at this time there is no evidence that our systems have been compromised or that there was any unauthorized access to the data in question,” the firm said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Aug 242012
 

J.D. Pooley/Getty Images(HOPKINS, Minn.) — Mitt Romney has offered a new explanation for his resistance to releasing more than two years of tax returns, telling Parade Magazine that he never intended for the amount of money he gives to the Mormon church to be made public.

“Our church doesn’t publish how much people have given,” Romney told Parade Magazine in an interview that will appear in the Aug. 26 issue of the magazine.

“This is done entirely privately,” he said.  “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.”

Ann Romney, who joined her husband for the interview, added, “When Mitt and I give that check, I actually cry.”

Romney’s remarks about tithing come after months of criticism that the candidate has refused to release more than two years of tax returns, instead releasing 2010 in full and an estimate for his 2011 returns.  A full 2011 tax return is expected later this year.

Up until now, Romney has said that his resistance to make more tax returns public was born out of a concern that Democrats would use them to formulate more opposition research against him.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Aug 032012
 

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(LAS VEGAS) — Mitt Romney has a message for Harry Reid: “put up or shut up.”

The Senate Majority Leader twice this week has repeated a wildly speculative rumor, that Mitt Romney did not pay any taxes for 10 years.

“The word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for ten years,” Sen. Reid, D-Nev., said of Romney on the Senate floor Thursday. “Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t.”

Reid was repeating what he had originally said in an interview with the Huffington Post earlier in the week, in which he recalled 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.”

Romney is the former CEO of Bain Capital, but left the company in 1999. Reid freely admitted he couldn’t substantiate the charge and he didn’t really even know if it was true. But he repeated it anyway.

“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid to the Huffington Post based on information provided, he says, by an informant. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?”

On Friday Romney fired back at Reid working the rumor mill and called on the Majority Leader to reveal his informant.

“I have paid taxes every year and a lot of taxes, a lot of taxes,” Romney said Friday in Las Vegas. “Harry is simply wrong, and that’s why I’m so anxious for him to give us the names of the people who have put this forward. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear the names are people from the White House or the Obama campaign or who knows where they’re coming from.”

Or better yet put simply, “Harry Reid really has to put up or shut up,” Romney said.

Democrats have criticized Romney for not releasing more than two years of his tax returns. But there has never been anything to suggest that Romney’s tax bill was zero. It is possible, however unlikely, that someone like Romney who pays most of his taxes in the form of capital gains could legally pay no taxes in the year after a big loss.

The presumptive GOP candidate has said he always paid all of the taxes he was required by law to pay. But he has said releasing more tax returns would likely not quiet critics. 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