The narrator asks how much did Romney really pay in taxes in some of these years-10%? 5%? 0%? 'We don't know, but we do know that "Romney personally approved over $70 million in fictional losses to the IRS as part of the notorious 'Son of Boss' tax scandal," the narrator says, "One of the largest tax avoidance schemes in history. Isn't it time for Romney to come clean?"
The post that reports this, of course, starts out really uppity about how Obama is running a "dirty campaign":
"As he decries the negativity of campaign ads while on the stump in battleground states, President Obama should take a close look in the mirror. His campaign Thursday continued its vigorous pace of attacks on rival Mitt Romney, with a new TV ad alleging the presumptive GOP presidential nominee once participated in "one of the largest tax avoidance schemes in history."
The media, I see, continues to try to run defense for Romney where they can, belaboring the idea that Obama and the Dems have been dirty. We don't see Steven King getting a "Pants on Fire" rating for his claim last week that Obama's parents sent out a telegram from Kenya announcing his birtth, but they never tire of trying to quibble and accusing the Obama campaign of lying, although they haven't been able to prove anything materially untrue that has been claimed.
"We do know that Romney personally approved over $70 million in fictional losses to the IRS as part of the notorious 'Son of Boss' tax scandal," the narrator says, "One of the largest tax avoidance schemes in history. Isn't it time for Romney to come clean?"
"The ad refers to Romney's role as chairman of the audit committee for hotel giant Marriott International for six years in the 1990s. During that time, the company took advantage of complicated tax avoidance measures, including the so-called "Son of Boss" tax shelter which was later challenged successfully by the Justice Department and IRS. Romney, as an auditor, presumably knew about the practice."
"The Obama campaign says the ad, which will air in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio, fairly illustrates a pattern of behavior by Romney to minimize tax liabilities in his personal life and in business dealings."
"These questions are especially relevant given voters' heightened attention in this election to the fate of their own tax rates, and the central role tax reform will play in the next administration," said Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt in a memo to reporters.
The Romney team has tried to claim there's something dishonest about discussing the episode from Romney's business dealings back in the 90s. As usual, however, it amounts to nothing but quibbling around the edges without any important distinctions that make a difference:
"The Romney campaign says the charge that the candidate "personally" oversaw Marriott's tax avoidance practices and had a key role in "scandal" is overblown - both "dishonorable and dishonest," said spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg."
Yet just as there's no ambiguity that Romney was the controlling person at Bain until 2002, not until 1999 as he likes to claim, he was the auditor at Marriot International when they took advantage of this scheme-that the DOJ and IRS would later deem criminal.
As so often is the case, Mr. Romney is left to parse the circle with unimportant quibbling at the margins. The fact is that he was the controlling person at Bain until 2002. The fact is he was the auditor at MI during this unethical scheme.
Romney would have us believe that being the "controlling person"-as SEC filings call him during the period is small beer with little responsibility as is being the auditor for a company during the time it engages in "one of the largest tax avoidance strategies in history."
This defies common sense, and there is little about Mitt Romney that makes us want to believe him rather than our lying eyes.
There are just too many episodes like this. Romney clearly has a background steeped in aggressive tax avoidance. Is this the person we want determining our future tax rates?