If Sen. Harry Reid is going to demand full tax return transparency from Mitt Romney, he should at the very least hold himself to the same standards. Unless of course he has some horrible, scandalous financial secrets to obscure…
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson told Politico last week that the majority leader will not release his tax returns, writing: “He’s not running for president. … He has of course released more than 30 years of detailed [personal finance disclosures]. There is exponentially more information available to the public about Sen. Reid’s financial life than there is about Mitt Romney’s.”
Conservatives have begun accusing Reid of hypocrisy for his attacks on Romney. And the Las Vegas Review-Journal — in a somewhat different context — on Monday resurrected a 1974 statement in which Reid said: “Any man or woman who will not be completely candid about his or her finances does not deserve to be in public office.”
Asked about that statement at a news conference Monday in Nevada, Reid responded: “In 1974, I wasn’t in Congress.”
Note that the congressional financial disclosure forms Reid has filled out provide different information than tax returns, so they’re hardly a substitute. If he wants the questions to stop, he’s going to have to cough up the actual documents.
Is Reid just stringing the press along here so he’ll have more leverage when he finally does release the information, or is he really so dense that he went ahead with this anti-Romney attack, knowing all along he wouldn’t be willing to release his own tax returns if asked? I’m tempted to guess the former, but his comment about not being in Congress when he called for full financial disclosure just seems too unbelievably awful to have been planned in advance. He’s basically saying his personal transparency ethics went out the window once he was handed political power. Poor 1974-Reid must be so embarrassed by 2012-Reid.
On a related note, the mainstream media seems to be turning against the Senate majority leader. Washington Post’s fact-checker gave his accusations against Romney “Four Pinocchios” this morning, following up on Politifact’s “Pants on Fire” rating yesterday.