NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney declared Friday that he has “paid taxes every year — and a lot of taxes” as he rejected an anonymous claim that he hadn’t paid taxes for a decade on his vast personal wealth.
Democrats have tried to make Romney’s personal wealth and how he’s managed it a key issue in the presidential contest. The former Massachusetts governor, who would be among the richest presidents ever elected, is aggressively competing with President Barack Obama for the support of middle-class voters.
Romney has refused to release more than one year of personal tax returns, despite calls from Democrats and some Republicans to do so, saying his critics would distort the information and use it against him. He has promised to release a second year of returns.
Romney’s 2010 federal tax return shows he paid 13.9 percent tax on income of $21.6 million. Most of Romney’s income came from investment gains, which are taxed at a lower rate than earned income.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has said that an investor in Romney’s former firm, Bain Capital, told him that Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.
Reid offered no evidence to support the claim, wouldn’t identify the investor and even acknowledged that he didn’t know if the claim was true. When asked about it during a radio appearance Thursday, Romney said Reid needed to “put up or shut up,” an assertion he repeated Friday.
In response to questions from reporters, Romney declined to weigh in when asked about the owner of the restaurant chain Chick- fil-A’s opposition to gay marriage or Rep. Michele Bachmann’s suggestion that an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton may be tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.