Tax attorney: Section 6103(f) of Internal Revenue Code allows Harry Reid to see tax returns


[Graphic by Brad Wilhelmsen]

Yesterday I started getting tweets from @USTaxAttorney in response to my post about a Bain investor who said, “Harry, [Mitt Romney] didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.”. I don't follow or know "Alvin S. Brown, Esq.", and he doesn't follow me. He tweeted me (and I noticed he was tweeting every prominent journalist on Twitter on the left and the right) about some legal way that Sen. Harry Reid could access Willard M. Romney's tax returns, but there were no details. He said something about more news coming out today:

Today he tweeted this:

That link led to this intriguing Yahoo post:

Whether Senator Reid has a Bain contact or not, Governor Romney's tax returns are likely in the possession of Senator Reid under the authority of Section 6103(f) of the IRS code. [...]

Section 6103(f) of the Internal Revenue Code expressly permits inspection of returns by the House Ways and Means Committee, Senate Finance Committee, and Joint Committee on Taxation, and also permits inspection by any select Committee of Senate or House, or joint committee authorized by legislative resolution to investigate returns. [...]

The Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is expressly authorized to request any tax return. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue is required to comply with a request for specific tax returns from any of those designated with that authority under the section 6103(f) statute. The ease with which the Romney returns can be requested from the IRS from an authorized source under section 6103(f) makes it the likely that those tax returns are under review by that authorized source, in the opinion of Tax Attorney Alvin S. Brown. Mr. Brown speculates that the allegations that Governor Romney did not pay taxes for a 10 year period may be valid in part based on the ease of access for those returns by a host of members of Congress, including Senator Reid. Mr. Brown notes also that the attribution for that information from a Bain informant may not be accurate. Mr. Brown suggests that public knowledge that the tax returns of Governor Romney were requested by a person authorized to receive those tax returns would likely be perceived by the public and the media as an unfair breach of trust.

There's much more at the link. Here's the IRS link.

Meantime, Markos Moulitsas at the Daily Kos opined that it's Jon Huntsman, Sr. who is Reid's source.

At this point, IMHO, it's more important that Harry Reid made a smart political move by putting Willard's tax returns front and center for several more news cycles just as interest was beginning to wane. Attention to the inequities in our tax code and the coddling of the wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle class are more important than the rumors. But if it took a rumor to alert a sleepy electorate to who Romney is, so be it.

Reid can take the heat (in fact, he relishes it), but Mitt can't. His dodges and weaves, nervous laughter and lies speak volumes about his (lack of) character. Voters need to become aware of that and much more before November.