The Case of the Senator Who Did Not Bark

As the controversy over Mitt Romney’s tax returns continues, the one person other than Romney himself who could settle this has been completely silent. That would be Sen. John McCain, who inspected 23 years of Romney’s tax returns in 2008 when he was considering Romney as a possible running mate. All he would have to do is hold a press conference and say: “Harry Reid is wrong. I personally saw Romney’s tax returns going back over two decades and he paid federal income tax every year.” But McCain has said nothing at all at a moment he could help Romney and hurt Reid. Why? It seems very strange. Maybe Reid is right and McCain knows this.

It is also interesting the precise language the Romney campaign uses when he denies Reid’s charges. “I have paid taxes every year, and a lot of taxes, so Harry is wrong.”

Is Romney perhaps splitting hairs and relying on the fact that he pays state sales tax, local property tax, and state income tax to obfuscate the question of whether or not he pays federal income tax?

Until we see Romney’s tax returns we have no way of telling whether Bain Capital arranged things so that Romney was able to deduct business losses to offset the already-low taxes on those gains. If true, that wouldn’t be a federal crime, but it would be unseemly, and make Romney the poster child for what is wrong in our current tax system.