Reid Attacks Romney in Apparent Violation of Senate Ethics Rules

Sen. Harry Reid / AP
• October 4, 2012 4:39 pm


Did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) violate the Senate’s ethics rules governing campaign activity? Reid’s Senate office issued a press release on the Senator’s official website titled "Now Romney Is Being Dishonest About Your Taxes."

For months Mitt Romney has been dishonest about his own taxes, but now he is being dishonest about your taxes. When he was asked to answer for his proposal to give huge breaks to millionaires and billionaires while raising taxes on middle-class Americans, Mitt Romney feigned ignorance and tried to disavow his own tax plan.

With so much valid concern over the nation's deficit, the American people deserve to know the truth about Mitt Romney’s tax plan. Democrats have been clear that we want to cut taxes for American families earning less than $250,000 while asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share as part of a balanced plan to reduce our deficit.

But instead of being honest with Americans about taxes and the deficit, Mitt Romney is peddling snake oil. He seems to think he is entitled to hide the details of his tax plan from the American people, just like he continues to hide his tax returns. But the truth is that Mitt Romney's math just doesn't add up without raising taxes on the middle class.

The personal political attack from Reid appears to violate the Senate’s ethics rules. According to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, "Senate resources may only be used for official purposes. The General Appropriations statute, 31 U.S.C § 1301, provides that official funds are to be used only for the purposes for which they were appropriated. No official resources may be used to conduct campaign activities."

Reid’s bold attack could attract the attention of the Senate Ethics Committee. If the committee decided to pursue the issue, Reid would likely argue that his attack was directed at the issue of taxes. However, it is unclear how Reid calling Romney a "snake oil" salesman figures into the debate over taxes.

This is not the first time Reid has owed Romney an apology for an attack over taxes. The Senate Majority Leader has attacked Romney repeatedly and alleged that Romney has paid no taxes for 10 years. That ridiculous claim was debunked when Romney released his tax returns for 2011 along with a letter from his tax advisers attesting that he paid taxes from 1990 to 2009.

Reid also misquoted Romney in an attack on Romney’s immigration policy.

The Nevada Democrat is no stranger to begging for forgiveness: Reid previously apologized to President Barack Obama for describing him as "light-skinned" with "no Negro dialect."