A source reportedly close to Sen. Harry Reid, has told CNN's Dana Bash that Reid's source of information that Romney did not pay taxes in 10 years is "credible." According to Bash, the person who gave Reid the information is willing to corroborate it.
The Huffington Post reports Bash told Anderson Cooper:
"I did speak to one source who is very close to Senator Reid who claims to also know who the Bain investor is that Reid spoke with, and insists that it is a credible person and this person if we knew the name we would understand they would have the authority and the ability to know about Romney's tax returns."
Romney, on Thursday, responded to Reid's "wild allegation," saying Reid should "put up or shut up." The Huffington Post reports Romney told Fox News' Sean Hannity, in a radio interview:
"Well, it's time for Harry to put up or shut up. Harry's going to have to describe who it is he spoke with because of course, that's totally and completely wrong. It's untrue, dishonest, and inaccurate. It's wrong. So I'm looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources and we'll probably find out it's the White House. Look, the Obama campaign is going to do everything in its power to try and talk about anything besides the president's record. Home prices, median American incomes, gasoline prices, 23 million underemployed or unemployed."
"They don't want to talk about that or his promises, cutting the deficit in half, cutting the medical insurance rates that people pay. These are all the things he promised. He can't talk about that, so they try and put this kind of baloney out there, and the people could smell it for what it is, and it's not a pretty smell."The Washington Post reports Reid continues to stand by his comment that he has it on good authority that Romney did not pay taxes in ten years. Reid insists that his source is credible and that the burden of disproving his claim lies on Romney whose reputation is at stake. According to a statement by Reid's spokesman Adam Jentleson, "Senator Reid stands by his comments. Governor Romney's continued refusal to release his tax returns raises legitimate questions about what he is hiding and whether he paid any taxes at all. Governor Romney can easily end this debate by following the precedent set by his father and releasing tax returns."
According to The Washington Post, Reid told Nevada reporters on Thursday: “I am not basing this on some figment of my imagination. I have had a number of people tell me that. I don’t think the burden should be on me. The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes.”
On the Senate floor on the same day, Reid pressed on with his attack on Romeny: “The word is out he hasn’t paid taxes for 10 years." The Blaze reports Reid said: "He’s refused to release his tax returns, as we know. If a person coming before this body wanted to be a cabinet officer, he couldn’t be if he did the same refusal Mitt Romney does about tax returns... So the word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for ten years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t."
The Huffington Post reports Reid released a statement on Thursday that said:
There is a controversy because the Republican presidential nominee, Governor Mitt Romney, refuses to release his tax returns. As I said before, I was told by an extremely credible source that Romney has not paid taxes for ten years. People who make as much money as Mitt Romney have many tricks at their disposal to avoid paying taxes. We already know that Romney has exploited many of these loopholes, stashing his money in secret, overseas accounts in places like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.
Last weekend, Governor Romney promised that he would check his tax returns and let the American people know whether he ever paid a rate lower than 13.9 percent. One day later, his campaign raced to say he had no intention of putting out any further information.
When it comes to answering the legitimate questions the American people have about whether he avoided paying his fair share in taxes or why he opened a Swiss bank account, Romney has shut up. But as a presidential candidate, it’s his obligation to put up, and release several years’ worth of tax returns just like nominees of both parties have done for decades.
It’s clear Romney is hiding something, and the American people deserve to know what it is. Whatever Romney’s hiding probably speaks volumes about how he would approach issues that directly impact middle-class families, like tax reform and the economy. When you are running for president, you should be an open book.
I understand Romney is concerned that many people, Democrats and Republicans, have been calling on him to release his tax returns. He has so far refused. There is only one thing he can do to clear this up, and that’s release his tax returns.
Bash expressed her opinion on the matter based on her experience of covering Reid:
"There are times [Reid] says things off the cuff that make his aides wince, like talking about smelly tourists in the Capitol -- I'm not making this up. This is not one of those times. This is one of those times he knows exactly what he's doing. He's doing it on purpose, he is doing it for political reasons, because he wants this issue -- Romney's taxes -- talked about on programs like yours, wants it to be headlines in newspapers and wants Mitt Romney to respond on this issue which they think is a negative for Romney, as opposed to issues Romney wants to talk about."
She summed up her perception of Reid: "When Harry Reid doesn't like somebody, he goes for the jugular."
Romney adviser Eric Fehrntrom, told Fox News: "I’m telling you authoritatively speaking on the behalf of the Governor that those charges are untrue, they are baseless, and there is nothing to back them up.”
Reid has come under attack from Republicans. The Washington Post reports the Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, asked if Reid has "no shame." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), said Reid's allegation was "beneath the dignity of his office."
The Los Angeles Times reports that given the fact that polls indicate voters would like to see Romney disclose his tax returns, Reid's campaign has considerable potential to hurt the GOP presidential candidate
Many see Reid's attack as a calculated ploy to goad Romney into releasing his returns and with it, any information about his finances he would prefer to keep private.