Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wrong Address

The Guardian has a simple theory as to why Mitt Romney won’t release his tax returns. It has nothing to do with how much he paid in taxes, where he keeps his money, or what he did with it once he got it. It could be as simple as his ZIP Code.

Many (many, many, many, many, many) theories have been advanced to explain why Romney keeps refusing to produce any returns prior to 2010, ranging from “voters might learn he’s wealthy” (which voters already know) to “he underpaid his church tithe” (doubtful).

None of them is really satisfactory, because none of them posits Romney concealing any facts more harmful than the blowback he is getting for not producing more returns. The problem may be that all of the prominent theories (with a couple of under-noticed exceptions) assume Romney is trying to conceal facts about his finances. Like the purloined letter pinned prominently in plain sight, what Romney’s really hiding might be something more mundane: the home address written on the top of the tax form. That address that might reveal a connection between the “tax returns” brouhaha and the “voter fraud” fizzle – which may be the strongest explanation of all. Here’s why.

Tax returns require taxpayers to state their residence address, and the Romney returns already produced, although partially redacted, state clearly that they lived in “Belmont, MA 02478” in 2012 (tax year 2011) (pdf) and 2011 (tax year 2010)

The Romneys’ 2010 tax return.

But the Romneys, arbitrarily, refuse to disclose a copy of the returns they filed in 2010 or 2009 (for tax years 2009 and 2008) – which, perhaps not coincidentally, bracket the time period when Romney allegedly committed fraud by voting in Massachusetts when he actually resided in California. So here’s the question: did Romney put his son’s basement’s address on the returns he filed in 2009 and 2010? Or did he truthfully use his real (non-Massachusetts) address, thus implicating himself in voter fraud?

Notice that when the Republicans are all carrying on about “voter fraud,” Mr. Romney has been uncharacteristically silent?

You could also make the case that he fraudulently claimed residency in Massachusetts when he ran for governor, making him retroactively ineligible to run for the office. Huh.