By Jonathan Easley - 04/16/12 01:34 PM EDT
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Monday ripped Mitt Romney for benefiting from the same tax loopholes as foreign despots.
MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd interrupted to ask Clyburn if he was directly comparing Romney to a foreign despot.
“I’m not comparing, I’m saying it’s a habit of hiding money in bank accounts,” Clyburn said. “I think there’s something wrong with that.”
Democrats have ratcheted up talk about Romney’s tax returns in recent days. Over the weekend, President Obama personally pushed the presumptive Republican nominee to release his past returns.
Romney has released his 2010 returns and an estimate for 2011, which show he paid an effective tax rate of about 14 percent.
On Friday, shortly after the White House released tax returns from President Obama and Vice President Biden, Romney filed for an extension, which his campaign said is routine.
Democrats have used their push for the Buffett Rule, which states that wealthier taxpayers should pay a rate at least as high as middle-class taxpayers, to highlight Romney’s wealth and effective 14 percent tax rate. Romney pays a lower tax rate because most of his income is capital gains, which is hit with a 15 percent tax rate.
Senate Democrats are planning a Monday vote on legislation that would require millionaires to pay at least a 30 percent tax rate.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus pushed back on Sunday in an interview with CNN, accusing President Obama of using “shiny objects,” such as Romney’s tax returns, to distract voters from his record.
“Again what we’re talking about is the tactic of this president to talk about tax returns and a Buffett Rule when in reality we have bigger issues to talk about,” Priebus said. “This election won’t come down to a tax return, this election will come down to the state of the economy and how Barack Obama failed this country.”