In the latest chapter in the never-ending debate (obsession?) over Mitt Romney’s tax returns, senior campaign adviser Ed Gillespie on Sunday said the presumed Republican presidential candidate would release his 2011 tax return by Oct. 15.
Romney has released his 2010 tax return and estimates for 2011 but "does not plan to reveal more years of returns," according to Reuters. "In April, he requested an extension from the Internal Revenue Service to file his 2011 tax forms, while estimating his tax liability at $3.2 million for last year."
Gillespie said the former Massachusetts governor would release the 2011 returns a few weeks before the election but failed to say exactly when.
"Look, October 15 is the deadline for the IRS on an extension. We have said as soon as they're ready we're going to release them. And I believe they'll be ready before that," Gillespie told Chris Wallace on the "Fox News Sunday" program.
"They're being finalized. There's a lot of forms that have to come in from other entities that the governor doesn't have control over," he said.
Gillespie added that Americans have “ample information” about Romney.
Watch via Fox News [discussion of Romney’s taxes comes at the 06:07 mark]:
However, the Obama campaign disagrees with Romney's campaign adviser and on Friday offered the Republican campaign a five-year tax disclosure "deal." The Romney campaign said "no."
"Look, Mitt Romney is a highly educated man. And he has clearly made a decision that what is in those tax returns is far more damaging to him than to do what every presidential candidate has done, which is show the American people your personal finances," Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs told "Fox News Sunday."
But Gillespie maintains that Team Obama is only talking about Romney's taxes because they’re trying to distract from the president’s less-than-flattering record.
"It wasn't an issue in 2008 because President Obama wasn't trying to distract from a four-year-long record of failed policies," he said.
And Team Obama isn’t alone in its interest in Romney’s taxes: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on more than one occasion has accused the Republican presidential candidate of being a tax cheat.
Oh, yeah, and then there's Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, head of the Democratic Governors Association:
The only thing we know for sure is one year of returns. ... We know that he (Romney) has been engaged in tax avoidance schemes, with offshore accounts ... in Cayman Islands and the Bahamas. ... But it is tax avoidance.
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Front page photo courtesy the AP.