Romney releases tax returns; Gingrich publishes Freddie Mac contract

It's the battle of transparency today as Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax return showing he paid $3 million in taxes on $21 million in income.

Wall Street Journal:

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid a 14% effective income tax rate in 2010 after making $3 million in tax-deductible charitable donations and drawing most of his income from investments, according to a summary of Mr. Romney's 2010 tax form provided by his campaign.

Mr. Romney reported $21.7 million in income. He paid $3 million in federal taxes, slightly more than the $2.98 million he made in charitable donations. At least $1.5 million of his charitable donations went to the Mormon Church.

Of Mr. Romney's 2010 income, he noted a capital gain of $12.6 million, taxable interest of $3.3 million, ordinary dividends of $4.9 million and smaller sums of gains and losses on business income, refunds and other income.

His 2010 return also showed that he had a financial account in Switzerland that was closed in 2010 and that he generated income from overseas investments. He also reported financial accounts in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Mr. Romney's campaign plans to release his full tax filings for 2010 and an estimate for his 2011 taxes Tuesday. Late Monday, the campaign provided the Wall Street Journal with a preview of those forms.

Romney opponents on left and right will be going over those returns with a fine tooth comb. Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich heeded calls from Romney and released the contract he had with Freddie Mac to be "historical consultant."

Washington Post:

GOP candidate Newt Gingrich, who has said he never lobbied on behalf of his consulting clients, reported to a top lobbyist with Freddie Mac as part of a $25,000-a-month contract, according to records released late Monday.

The one-year contract overseen by Freddie Mac executive Craig Thomas represents only a portion of the former House speaker's long relationship with the mortgage giant, which spanned eight years and resulted in at least $1.6 million in fees for Gingrich's empire.


The attacks, repeated in Monday night's presidential debate, are part of an attempt by Romney to blunt Gingrich's momentum after a commanding primary victory in South Carolina on Saturday. A new ad from the Romney campaign alleges that Gingrich "cashed in" on the housing meltdown by taking money "from the scandal-ridden agency that helped create the crisis."

The 15 pages of documents released late Monday consisted primarily of contractual boilerplate, along with signature pages laying out the $300,000 annual fee. The "scope of services and fees" consists of a single paragraph with no details.

For Romney, the calls to release more tax returns will continue. The left won't be satisfied until he releases every return back to and including the period he was a paperboy. As mentioned previously on this blog, the "optics" are horrible for Mitt no matter how many returns he releases or how he tries to spin the information. He's just got to hope that the brouhaha will die down soon and all of the issues surrounding his tax returns become "old news" quickly.

For Newt, half truths are better than the whole truth in this instance. He was hired by the mortgage giant's chief lobbyist and reported to him. If that doesn't make him a lobbyist, I'd like to see his job description. Gingrich is on a different playing field, though - few care about his exact duties performed while he was out of politics.

Perhaps now that we've had this over indulgence of "transparency," we can get on with the campaign. Enough of this childish "I'll show you mine if you show me yours."