Jon Huntsman Sr. called on Mitt Romney to release his tax returns Friday, complaining that the Republican nominee was not being “fair” with voters.
“I feel very badly that Mitt won’t release his taxes and won’t be fair with the American people,” Huntsman told the Washington Post. He said Romney “ought to square with the American people and release his taxes like any other candidate.”
Huntsman, father of Romney’s primary rival Jon Huntsman Jr., served as Romney’s 2008 finance chair. Some speculated that he might be the source for Harry Reid’s unsubstantiated claim that Romney paid no taxes for 10 years, based on the Utah billionaire’s past close relationship with Romney and his son’s more recent antagonistic one. Huntsman, while echoing Reid’s call for Romney to release his returns, denied to the Post that he was the source, calling the allegation “absolutely false.”
Like Reid, Huntsman noted that Romney’s own father, George Romney, started the modern tradition of releasing tax returns for presidential candidates.
“I loved George,” Huntsman said. “He always said, ‘Pay your taxes for at least 10 or 12 years.’”
Romney has steadfastly refused to release any tax returns from before 2010 despite calls from Democrats and Republicans alike to do so. The Obama campaign has made them a central point of attack, suggesting Romney may have benefited from tax shelters or paid an exceptionally low tax rate on his investment income.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.