Guy Benson

Let's get you up to speed on this idiotic flap: As you're already aware, Mitt Romney has declined to publicly release more than two years of tax returns.  He's not legally obligated to do so; nor are Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid, neither of whom have chosen to live up to the levels of "transparency" they're demanding of Romney.  Frustrated by the Republican presidential candidate's refusal -- and clearly unperturbed by his own hypocrisy -- Reid began circulating a totally unsubstantiated rumor this week, suggesting that Mitt Romney is a tax evader. From yesterday:
 

“His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” Reid said, in reference to George Romney’s standard-setting decision to turn over 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in the late 1960s. Saying he had “no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy,” Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office. Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying. He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?


CNN Money's Dan Primack promptly took Reid to the woodshed:
 

One of two things has happened: (1) Reid is simply making the whole thing up, in order to pressure Romney into releasing tax returns for years prior to 2010, or (2) Reid's investor pal lied, and the Senator didn't bother to conduct even a mild vetting before sharing the accusation with reporters. Either way, shame on [the] gossipy gentleman from Nevada. Let me make this crystal clear: Investors in private equity funds do not receive, nor are they entitled to request, personal tax returns for fund managers. Not just at Bain Capital, but everywhere. For example, ask the person managing your 401(k) for their personal tax returns. See how far you get. What makes this particular claim even sillier, of course, is that Romney hasn't even been managing Bain funds for the past 10 years.


In other words, Reid is peddling pure, pungent BS.  Even if this "source" at Bain (the identity of whom Reid has valiantly withheld -- on "principle," natch) exists, he would have zero knowledge of Romney's personal income taxes.  Do your co-workers have access to your personal taxes?  Exactly.  This is ridiculous on its face.  Has any of this opprobrium given Reid second thoughts?  Not in the least.  In fact, he dragged his baseless allegations of criminality (!) -- the Left's hot new trend, apparently -- onto the Senate floor earlier today:
 


 

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. We already know from one partial tax return that he gave us, he has money hidden in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and a Swiss bank account. Not making that up, that’s in the partial year that he gave us. Mitt Romney makes more money in a single day than the average middle-class family makes in two years–or more.


"The word's out."  What a standard!  He fabricated that "word" out of thin air.  By the way, someone told me Reid runs a secret dog-fighting ring in Nevada.  Can't tell you who, but it sounds pretty true.  Hey, have you heard the word's out about Reid's secret dog-fighting ring?  What's that?  Reid disputes it?  Let him prove that he isn't a criminal animal abuser, because he is.  (See how this works, Senator?)  I'm also curious as to why Reid voted to confirm an actual tax cheat as Treasury Secretary.  Reid's behavior has become so oafish and desperate that Lefty icon Jon Stewart has felt compelled to drop the hammer:
 


Click through for video.  You'll enjoy it, even if it means sitting through a few gratuitous shots at Fox & Friends.  One choice quotation: "Who the f***are you, Harry Reid...you two-bit, trash-talking son of a..."  Whoa.  The Romney campaign is also eagerly joining the beat down, sensing that Democrats are beginning to damage themselves:
 


 

"Have you no sense of decency, sir?  Is there nothing to debase yourself and the office you hold in the name of dirty politics?"


Breitbart's John Nolte is fit to be tied over all of this.  He's livid that Democrats are once again forcing Romney on defense and controlling the narrative.  I don't share his view.  Reid has gone so far, so clumsily that he's crossed the line and entered into counter-productivity.  This reeks of mindless political desperation.  Reid jumped the shark and is tripling down.  It's not helping.  I'll leave you with this hot scoop:  A nameless, third-hand source just informed me that Harry Reid hasn't always been a joyless asshat.  Care to share any countervailing evidence, Senator?


UPDATE - Reid quadruples down, telling reporters that "a number of people" (all anonymous) have told him that Romney is a tax evader.  No attempt to explain how they could possibly know this information.  Keep digging, chump.


UPDATE II - Mitch McConnell unloads:
 

“I think the Majority Leader has more important things to do than use the Senate as a forum for his baseless accusations,” McConnell said Thursday in a statement... “Frankly, it’s beneath the dignity of his office,” the Republican senator from Kentucky said.


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography