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Romney faces growing conservative drumbeat to release tax returns

 

The drumbeat for Mitt Romney to release additional years of tax returns is growing louder -- not just from President Obama's campaign, but also from conservatives who seem to worry about the political toll of the presumptive GOP nominee's refusal to do so.

The Associated Press reported that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) called on Romney on Tuesday to release more of his tax returns beyond the 2010 forms he has already made public, and the 2011 returns Romney has pledged to release.

Perry had been among the conservatives to attack Romney over his personal finances and record at Bain Capital during the Republican presidential primary earlier this year. Another of Romney's former primary opponents, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, also told Politico on Tuesday that Romney should release additional returns.

The former Massachusetts governor has resisted releasing additional years of tax data, arguing that it would provide the Obama campaign with fodder to mine for political attacks.

"In the political environment that exists today, the opposition research of the Obama campaign is looking for anything they can use to distract from the failure of the president to reignite our economy. And I’m simply not enthusiastic about giving them hundreds or thousands of more pages to pick through, distort, and lie about," Romneytold National Review Online in an interview today.

But the editors of the conservative magazine joined the chorus demanding Romney release more returns.

"Romney argues that whatever he releases will not be enough to satisfy the Obama campaign and its factota in the media, who are, once again, proving their bias and double standards. Romney is right, but he should release the returns anyway. Let them go fish," the magazine said in an unsigned editorial.

Romney has given no indication that he would reverse his decision and provide additional tax data. In the meanwhile, the Obama campaign released a new television ad on Tuesday speculating that there might have been a year in which Romney paid no taxes at all.