Could Romney's tax returns disqualify him from the Presidency?
If that seems like a silly question to you, you clearly haven't been watching Al Sharpton's show on MSNBC very carefully. Indeed, you probably haven't been listening to the Left's narrative regarding this election period, if you think that question's off-the-rails.
So how did the Left come up with this idea? Pretty much the same way critics charge that the birther movement first came up with the idea that President Obama isn't qualified to be President - namely, by taking a candidate's refusal to release a particular document and extrapolating from that refusal the idea that the document includes some earth-shattering revelation. Indeed, it may be that following the segment we are about to show you from Sharpton's show on MSNBC, a new category of conspiracy cranks should be created specifically for the Left - namely, "returners."
Mediaite sums up the segment:
On his MSNBC show today, Al Sharpton opened by focusing on Mitt Romney‘s tax returns and increasing pressure from Republicans and conservatives for the GOP candidate to release more of them. Guest Catherine Crier said that it is certainly fair to look into that aspect of Romney’s background, and even threw out the notion that Romney might withdraw as the Republican nominee before the convention.[...]
Then, talking about what the implications of releasing or not releasing the returns would be, Crier mentioned she read an article today saying Romney might have to withdraw before the convention.
She didn’t mention which piece it was, but it was likely this post on The Huffington Post by Paul Abrams, who made this argument against Romney if the returns come out and reveal that the candidate took advantage of a 2009 IRS amnesty program.
Watch the segment below, also courtesy of Mediaite:
So what did the article Ms. Crier may have read actually say? Well...this:
No one who has received amnesty for a serious crime, such as tax evasion, can be president. One would think that someone for whom the clear implications are that he has received amnesty, but will not release exculpatory documents, also cannot be president.[...]
Romney failed to disclose the documents he filed with the IRS in 2010, the year he has already released, that detail his Swiss Account holdings.
Hence, I am now prepared to go beyond my suggestions that the Republicans would not give him the nomination to a firm prediction: Romney will not be the 2012 Republican nominee for president.
This may sound scary. In actuality, it's completely ridiculous. In order for this argument to be true, not only would every Republican running for President this past year have to have purposefully ignored this potentially toxic issue, but every Republican who has endorsed Romney (including John McCain, who probably saw Romney's tax returns when he was vetting him for Vice President in 2008) would have to either not care, or be in on the scam. Moreover, the IRS' amnesty provision was purposefully anonymous, so as to not do any damage to a particular politician. From another article, also on the Huffington Post:
But Shaviro and other tax experts note that one of the principal benefits of the amnesty program is its anonymity. Nobody who received amnesty from the IRS would ever have to tell the public they'd held a Swiss bank account. Any politician who had received amnesty could have simply shut down their account and washed his or her hands of any political liability. And once the IRS was aware of the account, maintaining it would have had no tax benefits.
Was Romney in on this? It would be impossible to give an answer, since there's no evidence to support such a contention. In fact, if faced with the question, Romney could easily deny it, precisely because there's no evidence involved. In other words, this argument is completely unprovable and simply a function of Leftist wishful thinking somehow managing to escape its natural habitat in "The Newsroom."