When the it comes to the contentious topic of Mitt Romney’s tax returns, the Romney campaign has invoked precedent, defending their decision to release just two years worth of returns as the standard set by the campaigns of John McCain and John Kerry. The Romney campaign renewed this argument on Sunday.
In fact. Sen. Kerry (D-MA) had released 20 years of tax returns when he ran for president in 2004.
On Sunday, Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie promised that Romney would release a total of two years worth of tax returns, following in the footsteps of McCain and Kerry.
“He is going to release them, Candy, we’ve made that clear,” Gillespie said to host Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And that’s the standard that Senator McCain, Republican nominee in the last election said was the relevant standard. It’s the standard that Senator John Kerry as the Democratic nominee said was the standard.”
In April, Romney himself held up Kerry as an example, telling CNBC that “John Kerry released two years of taxes.”
During the Republican primary, Romney released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate of his 2011 returns. Though Gillespie’s language was somewhat vague on Sunday, he seemed to be referring to fact that Romney would release his 2011 returns, bringing Romney’s total to two years of returns.
While McCain did release two years of returns, Kerry released more. As the Huffington Post and ThinkProgress previously reported, Kerry made it a habit to release his returns to the Massachusetts press during each of his Senate campaigns. The reason Kerry only released a few years worth of returns in 2004 is because his past returns had already been released.
Kerry spokesperson Jodi Seth chastised the Romney campaign for the false allegation.
“Months ago, the Romney team began making this false and convoluted excuse — the media investigated it and promptly reminded them that as a presidential candidate John Kerry had released twenty years of tax returns,” Seth said in a statement to TPM. “Still, months later they’re falling back on this same disproven excuse. In fact, if the Romney standard was the same as the Kerry standard for disclosure, the media would have the chance to review twenty years of Romney tax returns. Ed Gillespie should know better.”
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.