The New York Times has a swell editorial this morning reminding the public that George Romney, father of Mitt Romney, led the way in transparency in 1968 by offering not one but twelve years of tax returns.
I looked back at the news coverage in 1968, and it’s quite interesting. When he was first asked for his tax returns, George Romney balked. He explained that just “one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.” But he eventually relented. According to this write up by Drew Pearson, the returns showed that George Romney donated 19 percent of his income to church, 4 percent directly to charity, and most surprisingly, the returns showed that the Michigan governor “seldom took advantage of tax loopholes to escape his tax obligations.” View a screenshot below:
For Mitt Romney, who has stubbornly refused to release his tax returns (although he hinted that he may have to in the debate last night), there are many political dangers with releasing his own tax returns. His windfall profits from Bain Capital, his questionable charitable giving, and of course, his preferential tax treatment and likely use of loopholes.