Critics also point to records of candidate’s off-shore accounts
A group of 21 mayors from across the nation is calling on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns — comparing him unfavorably to his father George Romney, who during a presidential bid in 1968 released 12 years of tax returns.
“It’s time to come clean, Gov. Romney,” said Mayor Michael Nutter, one of the group, which included six mayors from Pennsylvania, who sent a letter to Romney urging him to release more information. “Your own father set a precedent for presidential candidates of both parties when he said public release of several years of tax returns was necessary, explaining that ‘one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.’”
Romney has released his tax returns for just one year — far less that many other candidates have released, including his father.
It is also far less than Romney released when he was being vetted as a possible choice for vice presidential candidate by John McCain’s campaign in 2008. At that time, Romney released 23 years worth of returns.
“Now as you audition for the American people, you say only one full year is good enough,” said Nutter. “It isn’t.”
Nutter made it clear that the letter, which was made public during a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, was not linked to the meeting or the conference, but was an independent act by several discontented mayors.
“You can’t get a clear picture of a candidate unless they release more than one year,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski of Allentown, a Democrat. “We would ask him to take his own father’s advice and release multiple years of his tax returns and let the public see what this individual is about.”
Other Pennsylvania mayors included Pete Lagiovane of Chambersburg, Richard Gray of Lancaster, Helen Thomas of Darby and John Callahan of Bethlehem.
They were part of a growing chorus calling for Romney to release more returns.
“This is something that’s going to continue until he does something about it,” Nutter said.
It’s not only Democrats who have called for more tax returns.
Several high-profile Republicans joined the call for transparency, including Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson.
In an editorial, the conservative National Review also urged Romney to release more tax returns even though it agreed with him that Obama’s camp wanted them for a “fishing expedition.”
The Romney campaign concedes that many voters would prefer transparency, but doesn’t believe that the issue is important enough to sway votes in November.
Mitt Romney’s wife is reinforcing her husband’s refusal to make public more of his tax returns, saying “we’ve given all that people need to know” about the family’s finances.
Ann Romney said people will decide whom to vote for based on whether their lives would be better under Mitt Romney than President Barack Obama.
Ann Romney says the family gives 10 percent of its income to the Mormon church and he took no salary during his four years as Massachusetts governor. She says that should be enough to put aside people’s concerns about his finances.
The single year of tax returns released by Romney shows investments and offshore accounts scattered across the globe, including places such as Switzerland and Grand Cayman.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.