The Republican candidate has released his 2011 taxes. How might this affect the campaign going forward?
This afternoon, Mitt Romney's campaign posted the candidate's tax returns online. But even before then, it posted some information from Brad Malt, the lawyer who oversees Romney's finances. In short, the Romneys paid $1,935,708 in taxes, having earned $13,696,951. Their effective tax rate was 14.1 percent. They gave $4,020,772 to charity, though they only claimed $2.25 million in deductions.
My colleague Derek Thompson has five takeaways on the returns; here are a few additional questions on the politics of the release.
1. Does this disqualify Romney from being president? It's particularly interesting that the Romneys intentionally deducted less than they could have in order to achieve a double-digit tax rate. Without that, they would have been closer to an effective rate of 9 percent. Back in June, when Romney was under fire for not releasing more taxes, he sat down for an interview in Jerusalem with ABC and said the following (emphasis added): "I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don't think I'd be qualified to become president. I'd think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires." Does deducting less than is possible qualify as paying more than is legally due? It's a semantic gray area, but Romney's opponents are sure to say that he's failed his own test and disqualified himself from the presidency.