The genesis of the now famous George Romney quote on tax returns is fascinating. It turns out it was George Romney’s biographer who originally asked for just one return. Although he was obsessively forthcoming in opening up the rest of his life to scrutiny, George initially refused:
“Release of the document, while it might serve a political purpose, would not prove very much, he argued. One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul.”
He later, unprompted, voluntarily delivered 12 years worth of returns that showed him to be an ethical businessman and an upstanding citizen. Who didn’t dodge his tax responsibilities:
Romney also payed an income tax rate several times that of his son’s roughly 15%: He payed more than half of his income in taxes some years, and paid a total rate for the period over 50%.
George Romney understood he was applying for the most important job in our country and the people were his employers. So he opened his books to the public to prove he deserved the position. Mitt Romney should do no less, to honor the memory of his father and to show he understands the President of the United States serves the people, not the other way around.