Obama camp on Romney’s taxes: Let’s make a deal

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina has an offer for Mitt Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades: Release five years of tax returns and the Obama campaign will stop criticizing or questioning the former Massachusetts governor for not releasing more.

There is no offer to refrain from criticizing the contents of those returns.

Likelihood that Romney will take this deal: Very low.

The full letter is below.

August 17, 2012

Matt Rhoades
585 Commercial Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02109

Dear Matt:

I am writing to ask again that the Governor release multiple years of tax returns, but also to make an offer that should address his concerns about the additional disclosures. Governor Romney apparently fears that the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide. So I am prepared to provide assurances on just that point: if the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more--neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign.

This request for the release of five years, covering the complete returns for 2007-2012, is surely not unreasonable. Other Presidential candidates have released more, including the Governor's father who provided 12 years of returns. In the Governor's case, a five year release would appropriately span all the years that he has been a candidate for President. It would also help answer outstanding questions raised by the one return he has released to date, such as the range in the effective rates paid, the foreign accounts maintained, the foreign investments made, and the types of tax shelters used.

To provide these five years, the Governor would have to release only three more sets of returns in addition to the 2010 return he has released and the 2011 return he has pledged to provide. And, I repeat, the Governor and his campaign can expect in return that we will refrain from questioning whether he has released enough or pressing for more.

I look forward to your reply.

Jim Messina
Obama for America Campaign Manager

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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