Should Mitt Reveal His Taxes? Taking the Question to the States

Those calls for Mitt Romney to open up his tax books now include enough prominent Republicans that the Obama campaign can fit them into a minute-long ad.

We've heard from the George Wills and the Bill Kristols and the Robert Bentleys. But what about the dozens and dozens of Republican officials at the state level who have endorsed Romney?

Under the assumption that all politics is local, we checked in with as many Romney-backing state senators, state representatives, delegates and mayors as we could with one question: Do you think Romney should release his tax records?

Some said yes. Some said no. Some said who cares. For whatever reason, the folks in Georgia were much more responsive than anyone else. Here are some of the results.

Donna Hutchinson, state representative in Arkansas:

"We have been waiting almost four years for Pres. Obama to release his college records -- classes completed, grades, etc. I believe he attended three different schools. His thesis is even sealed; I find that strange as my masters thesis is in the U of A library and anyone can check it out. Since the waiting period has been longer for Pres. Obama -- when he releases college records -- then Mr. Romney should definitely release his tax returns. My guess it will show he made unbelievable amounts of money. I thought he gave his inheritance away, so he had to make his fortune in business. I just can't understand why Obama's college record is so secretive."

B.J. Pak, state representative in Georgia:

"No. Tax returns are private information and there is no doubt Romney was a successful man. I never understood this 'requirement' that candidates release his tax returns -- most of the time it is to give the impression that the candidate has something to hide. I view this is relevant as much as those who call for president Obama to release his college transcripts; both are irrelevant at this point."

Joe Harrison, state representative in Louisiana:

"I find it ironic. Tax returns are legal, but yet we have an attorney general who won't release things. ... I think eventually he will, but if I were in his position, I would say quid pro quo, and you release yours -- the president, stop the executive order on the issue of Fast & Furious. ... I would say I'll release them, but let's release everything. Let's be open."

Les Fossel, state representative in Maine:

"I don't care. I'm no longer very interested in national politics. I focus on trying to make Maine a better place. We actually accomplish things here."

Mike Ball, state representative in Alabama:

"It sounds a lot like political posturing. ... If they get 12 years or 20 years or however many they want, I'm sure they'll be very lengthy and have a lot of information in them, and I'm guessing if they get all that, it would create a lot of red herrings to chase. ... I think that he should do the most recent ones. He's already done two. Another one would certainly be adequate, but I think the campaign -- this is not about transparency. This is about politics."

Nic Kipke, delegate in Maryland:

"I think he should when President Obama releases his college transcripts. Or better yet when he lifts Executive Privilege on the complete 'Fast & Furious' documents requested by Congress."

Ryan Bingham, mayor of Torrington, Conn.:

"I don't believe that whether or not Mitt Romney releases all or some of his tax returns will affect my vote in any way. He should do what he believes is right. That is his decision."

Greg Lavelle, state representative in Delaware:

"I really don't care one way or another. (I saw Bill Kristol on Fox yesterday morning as well.) The Dems call for him to release 10-plus years of tax records is simply an effort to distract from current administration's record. The media's fascination plays into it. Governor Romney is wealthy and wealthy (rich, if you will) people have complicated financial records as a result of a whacky tax code. There is no suggestion that he has broken the law. The IRS has his records and should know that one way or another."

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