Harry Reid’s charge that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid no taxes for a decade earned the Senate Majority Leader four Pinocchios from The Washington Post
fact checker. Reid’s claim, purportedly based on an unnamed source, has been roundly criticized in recent days yet the Nevada Democrat has refused to back down.
“This whole exchange poses a fact-checking conundrum,” the Post noted in its examination. “Generally, we maintain that the person or the campaign making the charge must back it up. Reid has refused to provide any evidence, except for the (unproven) fact that someone called him up and told him something that may be true — or simply a rumor.
“But we can still examine how credible this rumor might be.”
The Post said that while Romney has refused to release more than a couple years of tax returns the ones he has show he paid substantial tax on earnings of nearly $22 million. Tax experts tell the Post that while it is theoretically possible for Romney to have paid no taxes in a given year it was “improbable” that someone as wealthy as Romney could avoid taxes for 10 years.
“We use a reasonable person standard here,” the Post concluded. “Without seeing Romney’s taxes, we cannot definitively prove Reid incorrect. But tax experts say his claim is highly improbable. Reid also has made no effort to explain why his unnamed source would be credible. So, in the absence of more information, it appears he has no basis to make his incendiary claim.
“Moreover, Reid holds a position of great authority in the U.S. Congress. He should hold himself to a high standard of accuracy when making claims about political opponents.”
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