On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, DNC officials made clear that they have no intention of dropping the issue of Mitt Romney's taxes now that he's released returns for the past two years.
"This is a candidate who has based his entire candidacy on his experience in the real economy, therefore we need to know exactly what that experience was at Bain Capital," said Patrick Gaspard, executive director of the DNC. "The returns we have now don't show how he made his fortune there because he's continued to keep those returns secret."
The theme of Romney's secrecy ran throughout the call, which also included Ed Kleinbard, an expert in tax law from the University of Southern California. The message was simple: Romney is refusing to release more of his tax returns because he has something to hide.
Gaspard suggested that Romney might be concealing conflicts of interest that would keep him from governing fairly.
"He's advanced tax policies that benefit people in the same tax brackets that he happens to inhabit," he said of Romney.
Kleinbard added: "Is this candidate so financially or personally invested in certain tax positions that he cannot separate his own tax-saving strategies with what’s best for the country going forward?"
Additionally, Gaspard said releasing more tax returns -- like the 23 years' worth Romney showed the McCain campaign when he was being vetted for the running mate slot in 2008 -- would crucially shed light on the offshore bank accounts he's kept over the years.
Of course, much of this is conjecture -- Romney's opponents haven't examined his other tax returns, and are left simply guessing as to why he won't disclose them. But as Democrats continue to color Romney as the quintessential greedy capitalist, it's clear they view the tax returns as a winning issue. And they will look for every excuse to keep it alive until he gives his last concession speech.
McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.
Contact McKay Coppins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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