There are several speculations about Mitt Romney's refusal to release his tax returns.
Paul Krugman thinks he pays so little in taxes that he'll be branded as the poster boy for what's wrong with the whole tax code.
David Cay Johnston thinks that
the tax code manipulation during the Bain years could turn up quite a bit of chicanery. (Sorry, group interview, no link.) CORR: Mr. Johnston's position is correctly stated as:
I am sure Romney scrupulously followed the rules. ... What I have raised questions about in my columns at Reuters.com are the gift tax issues involving the $100 million trust fund for his sons.More here.
I find this the most intriguing possibility of all. I've been saying on Twittter that Mitt's tax problem has a name — "Cayman Islands."
Most think that the Cayman Islands problem is that Mitt will be painted (branded) as an serious tax avoider.
But there's more, and it's much more serious. Offshore "banks" aren't banks, they're investment funds, very secret ones. And investment funds have partners. According to lawyer Mike Papantonio (of Ring of Fire radio), these "banks" were originally created to launder and invest criminal money.
The following brief interview with Ed Schultz explains it all. The first two minutes provide the context. After that, Papantonio makes his point. Listen:
The history of offshore "banking" starts at 2:50. Fascinating. 150 current grand jury investigations of offshore banking?
Papantonio asks the right questions. Who are his partners in these funds? Has he already done favors for them, using political office? If we don't know who is partners are, how will we know if (when) he does favors for them in the future, using the highest office in the land.
Notice that, at the end, Papantonio also thinks Romney is paying 0% taxes. How's that for icing on the cake?
This could be very big, very explosive. If so, we'll never see those returns. Ever. They will stay buried forever.
Interesting game that Romney's gotten himself into. How do you walk away from your last shot at the presidency? How do you release your Cayman Island dealings?
I think he's doing the only thing he can — shut up and press forward. (Can't wait to see No-on-Mitt's next move.)
[UPDATED to correctly reflect David Cay Johnston's position.]