Mitt Romney: Mormon Church Contributions Should Be Private

08/23/2012 04:29 pm ET | Updated Aug 24, 2012

Mitt Romney never intended that the contributions he and his wife made to their church would become known when he disclosed financial information as the presumptive GOP nominee, he says, citing the disclosure of "personal" information as the reason behind his reluctance to release more.

"Our church doesn't publish how much people have given. This is done entirely privately," Romney said in an interview with Parade magazine, to be published Sunday. "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 church."

Romney has been reluctant to release financial information throughout his political career. In the presidential election, his financial disclosures have been scanter than his rivals or recent presidential hopefuls. He has only released one -- by some accounts, incomplete -- year of tax returns, for 2010, and has pledged to release a second, for 2011, before the election (so far, he has released a summary). President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have released twelve years of tax returns each. Since the 1980 election, only Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) released two years of returns, while all other major party candidates released at least five.

Romney has refused to release more years of tax returns despite bipartisan calls for him to do so. His father, when running for president in 1968, released 12 years of tax returns. His father was also, of course, a Mormon.

Romney's 2010 tax return revealed that he will give $4.13 million over two years of $43 million in income. In addition, he and his wife have given over $4.7 million to the church over ten years through the Tyler Charitable Foundation, a multimillion dollar trust created by the Romneys.

Republicans To Mittens: Release The Returns

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