Romney's tax returns: a lesson in transparency
By Emily Hutto
Mashable.com (and every newspaper’s mom) reports that a team of hackers stole Mitt Romney’s tax returns and plans to release them publicly, unless he pays a ransom.
First, I’ve got to poke a bit of fun at the changing times. The days of cut-out newspaper-lettered ransom notes are over, and have been replaced by technology geeks using electronic messaging.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that Romney’s tax returns were actually embezzled by these geeks. It seems to me that if he’s handled his taxes legally, then he doesn’t have much to worry about. A few short weeks and his honest, legitimate tax records will be available to the masses to read, and he won’t have to pay any ransom dollars. No harm no foul.
The reason that I poke fun at this circumstance is that many people will readily accept this news as truth. A post on PasteBin.com vaguely states that these tax return thieves gained access to the third floor of the building of the Tennessee location of PricewaterhouseCoopers, a tax consulting company, from someone who worked there. They then went to the second floor, set up shop in an empty office room and made copies of all of Romney’s taxes.
This clan of robotic hackers must have ascended a magical stairwell to the third floor, or maybe scaled the building with climbing gear. Do a Google Satellite search of the building (the address is 830 Crescent Centre Dr. Franklin, TN 37067) and you’ll understand why I’m skeptical about their entry.
Keep Google searching and you’ll discover that Romney has refused to release any of his tax returns before 2010. He still hasn’t released his 2011 information, either, but reports say he’s in the process.
So the Republican candidate for the presidential election is only offering up one year’s worth of his financial information… If those records did actually get stolen, it’s no wonder.
Romney’s current dilemma (or conspiracy theory or media ploy or whatever you want to call it) is a great example of the importance of transparency, especially when it comes to financial information. Whether or not Romney has questionable taxes, he gave the message to the public that he has something to hide by not releasing them. Now, with ambiguous media coverage about the situation, voters don’t know who or what to believe.
The president is much like a financial advisor — part of his job is to manage money that is not his own. And without transparency, he cannot gain the trust of his clients. The successful advisors out there will tell you that without the trust of your clients, you certainly won’t close sales. You’ll barely make it through your meetings.