Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney Friday released his 2011 tax returns, following months-long calls to release more detailed information about his personal finances. He paid more than $1.95 million in taxes on nearly $13.7 million in income.
President Barack Obama and Democrats have been pressing Romney to release more of his financial records, but the Republican has only released the records for his taxes in 2010, and with Friday's release, 2011. The millionaire and his wife say their taxes should not be a campaign issue and that they have followed all tax laws. After a Vanity Fair article revealed that Romney has bank accounts abroad in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, questions were raised about whether or not the candidate was guilty of tax evasion.
Democrats point to Romney's secrecy as yet another way he's out of touch with regular Americans, arguing that his stubborn refusal to release his tax returns proves he has something to hide. They have continually used the issue to paint Romney as a rich businessman who is unable to understand the economic struggles of the lower and middle class.
Previously Romney had only released his 2010 tax returns, which opponents say is not sufficient. Obama has released his returns for every year going back to 2000, although presidential candidates are not legally required to release their returns. The trend of candidates releasing the information was started by Romney's father George when he ran for president and released 12 years of returns.
Friday's release comes at the end of a particularly difficult stretch of the campaign for Romney. The Republican nominee was criticized for his harsh condemnation of the Obama administration's response to diplomatic murders and violence in the Middle East, as well as for a leaked video of Romney speaking at a private fundraiser in which he claims that 47 percent of Americans don't pay income taxes but think they are entitled to government services. Some speculate this may be a contributing factor to Romney's decision to release the returns today.
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