I have a question for our legal team, but I’d rather save the several hundred dollars for now and just address it to all of you legal scholars instead.Would it be legal for us to pay $25,000 cash for access to Mitt Romney’s tax returns?
To be clear:
We don’t want to possess the returns, and we certainly don’t want anyone to steal them, because I assume that might violate the “buying stolen goods” law that another news organisation was once investigated for with respect to a stolen iPhone.
We just want to view the returns.
If that would not be legal, would it be OK for us to publish information from the returns if the returns just showed up in our mail in an unmarked brown envelope with no return address?
If not, is there any way to legally obtain information from Mitt Romney’s tax returns without his actively releasing them?
These are sincere questions. Thanks in advance for your help.
Note: This issue has “gone political,” which means I have just offended the half of our readers who hope that Mitt Romney is elected President. I understand the frustration–I agree that Mitt Romney’s tax returns will probably make him look bad, which is presumably why he’s not releasing them–but this is not a partisan effort. If Barack Obama hadn’t already released 11 years of returns, we’d be demanding to see them, too–just the way we demanded to see Obama’s long-form birth certificate a couple of years ago (He was good enough to eventually release it.) We also have no doubt that, if we don’t see Romney’s tax returns before the election, and it turns out that there’s something nasty in there, we’ll be blasted by ALL of our readers for failing to do our job. So we really just want to see the returns, get this over with, and move on to more important matters.
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