Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's charge, in an interview with The Huffington Post, that Mitt Romney paid no taxes over the course of 10 years wasn't the first time he's made that accusation of the presumptive Republican nominee.
"His father, George Romney, set the precedent that people running for president would file their tax returns and let everybody look at them," Reid (D-Nev.) declared, in a little-noticed floor speech from mid-July. "But Mitt Romney can't do that because he's basically paid no taxes in the prior 12 years."
Reid's most recent remarks have been criticized as deliberately provocative, if not reckless, speculation. The majority leader said he was told that Romney "didn't pay any taxes for 10 years" by someone who invested with Bain Capital, Romney's former private equity firm. But Reid hasn't named names, and went so far as to admit that he didn't know if his information was accurate.
Yet the fact that Reid made a similar assertion with little fanfare nearly three weeks ago (the 12 years he references likely include the two for which Romney has released tax information) suggests that he personally believes the information to be true.
Either way, the political implications of Romney's tax history eclipse the question of the identity of Reid's anonymous Bain source. Romney's refusal to release further tax return data has left the door open for his critics to dispense with the presumption of innocence and speculate openly about what possibly nefarious details he is trying to hide.