Paul Ryan to follow Romney’s lead, release two years of tax returns

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Sunday defended Mitt Romney against Democratic calls for him to release more tax returns and said he would follow the presumptive GOP nominee’s lead and release only two years of records.

In his first interview with Romney since being selected as his running mate, Ryan would not specifically disclose how many years of tax records he had given to the campaign during its vice presidential vetting.

“It was a very exhaustive vetting process, said Ryan on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” “It’s a confidential vetting process, so there were several years.”

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Ryan said he would release the same amount of records Romney has. “I'm going to be releasing two, which is what he's releasing,” he said. 

Democrats have pressured Romney to release additional records after a report last month detailed his offshore financial holdings and have used the issue to paint the GOP contender as out-of-touch with Americans struggling in the weak economy.

Romney has released his 2010 tax records and an estimate of 2011 taxes but has refused to provide additional returns, calling the Democratic pressure an attempt to distract voters from President Obama’s economic policies.

Ryan agreed with Romney's stance, saying that voters were focused on jobs and were not asking for more returns.

“They're asking where the jobs are. Where's the economic growth. Those are the issues that matter,” he said.

The debate over Romney's returns escalated recently when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he had heard from a former investor with Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney once ran, that he had not paid taxes over a 10-year period.

Romney called on Reid to reveal his anonymous source and top Republicans including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus accused Reid of lying. 

Romney has insisted that he always paid his taxes and did not use offshore accounts to evade American tax laws.