What’s the real issue over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney releasing more copies of tax returns than he already has?

There’s no allegation that he’s somehow violating any disclosure rules by his failure to release copies of more years’ returns.

Sure he could do so voluntarily, but if he chooses not to, does that imply he’s done something wrong, that he’s cheating on his taxes or doing something else illegally?

Most individuals are circumspect about their personal finances, don’t share how much they earn with just anyone, don’t talk about their investments or debt or such.

Beyond what is legally required of a candidate for president to disclose, is there really some issue about Romney’s finances or tax returns? We know he’s very wealthy, but does that necessarily mean he’s done something illegal or improper?

Even if he’s got a lot of tax deductions or investments in offshore accounts, as long as he’s not cheating on what he pays to avoid paying his legally required taxes, what’s the real issue?

Are there candidates for any office who are paying more taxes than required?

McClatchy Newspapers asked all members of Congress to provide copies of their tax information. It reports that only 17 members of Congress have given them copies of tax returns or provided similar documentation that outlined their tax liabilities.

Nineteen members of Congress, including House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi have reportedly said they will not disclose their tax return information.

The rest simply have not responded.

“When I run for president of the United States, you can hold me to that standard,” McClatchy reported Pelosi saying at a “tense” news conference.

Previously about Romney’s tax returns, she had said, “If you don’t release them, you leave it up to the imagination of anybody who wants to talk about it to talk about it.”

Obviously it’s OK with Ms. Pelosi if you are left to imagine what you might find on her tax return.

About whether members of Congress should have a rule that they have to release their tax information, like many are demanding of candidate Romney, Pelosi responded, “There are no rules … There is no rule about releasing his tax return, so what rules are you referring to?”

If so few in Congress are willing to release their tax information, if there is no rule that says Romney has to release his, if there is no allegation that he’s cheated on his taxes, why do so many continue to make such a big deal over him not releasing more than he’s done already?

When did playing by the rules not become enough? Disclosure apparently looks a lot better when it’s someone else having to do the disclosing.

WILL CHAPMAN

PUBLISHER

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