TAMPA, Fla -- Mitt Romney's campaign announced on Monday afternoon that it would hold a conference call the following morning to discuss the release of the former Massachusetts governor's 2010 tax returns and 2011 tax return estimates.
It was expected that Romney would release the data during middle of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, which will take place later that night. Perhaps more remarkable than the timing of the release, though, is the number of lawyers, accountants, and campaign officials that the Romney campaign said will take part in the conference call.
Here is the list as provided by the campaign:
- Brad Malt, Ropes and Gray (Trustee)
- Fred T. Goldberg, former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner
- Ben Ginsberg, Patton Boggs (National Counsel)
- Lanhee Chen, Romney for President Policy Director
- Gail Gitcho, Romney for President Communications Director
Why the campaign needs that many people for a release of Romney's 2010 tax returns and his 2011 estimates is unclear, though it does suggest that the information provided will be highly technical and prone to political spin.
But even if the campaign makes it through tomorrow morning unscathed, the tax issue seems unlikely to die completely. Newt Gingrich may have said he's ready to move on to other topics, but Democrats certainly aren't. And at a Monday press briefing in Tampa, in anticipation of the Republican primary debate to take place there that night, DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse got into specifics about the number of years' worth of tax returns he believed Romney should have to divulge.
"Mitt Romney has been running for public office since 1994 but he has been running for president or planning to run for president for seven years. There is no one in this room who didn't think he knew this was coming and over that time has – to the extent possible -- sanitized those tax records to make them as least embarrassing as possible," said Woodhouse. "Certainly here in the past few years as he has prepared to run for a second time. Let's see what they look like when he was entwined at the hip with Bain Capital. Let's see what they look like when he was running Bain Capital."
Asked if that meant he wants the Romney campaign to release tax returns from before 1999, when Romney left the private equity firm, Woodhouse replied, "We know from his personal financial disclosure ... up to around 2009, at least, he continued to be very entwined with Bain Capital with respect to continue to receive benefits from the company. So I don't know if you have to go back until he was still the CEO of Bain Capital – I think we would all welcome that -- but at least I think back to around the time when he started running for governor."
"And that would get him close to what his dad did," Woodhouse added. "His dad did 12 years."