Romney v. Gingrich – Influence Peddling and Tax Returns!

Dear Commons Community,

Yesterday the Republican presidential primary centered on the debate in Florida, personal attacks of influence peddling, and income tax disclosures.  First, the debate (now down to four contenders) was interesting mainly because of the early and extensive attack of Newt Gingrich by Mitt Romney.  Romney portrayed Gingrich as a Washington insider with an office on K Street (metonym for the Washington lobbying industry) who makes millions of dollars peddling influence for clients.   He also referred to Gingrich as erratic and a failed leader who had to resign in disgrace.  Gingrich for his part was more careful in what he said and essentially accused Romney of distorting the truth if not in fact lying.

The second important issue was the disclosure of income tax returns.  The New York Times reported that Gingrich had already released his tax return from 2010 when he reported a total income of $3.16 million (including a tidy $76,200 Congressional pension). Most of Mr. Gingrich’s income has come from helping corporate clients gain access and solicitous treatment from Washington’s power elite. One of his consulting groups, the Center for Health Transformation, gave clients advice in reaching what it called “top transformational leadership across industry and government.”

Mitt Romney released tax records today indicating he paid $6.2 million in taxes on a total of $45.2 million in income over the years 2010 and 2011.  He paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent in 2010 and expects to pay a 15.4 percent rate when he  files his returns for 2011.  Romney’s tax rate is below that of most wage-earning Americans because most of his income, as outlined in more than 500 pages of tax documents, flows from capital gains on investments not wages.




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