Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, once among the front-runners to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday that he forked over “a bunch” of years of tax returns. Pawlenty walked into the tax-return issue when he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he hoped the selection of Paul Ryan would keep the focus of the campaign on “the issues” and not “shiny objects” like Romney’s tax returns.
Romney has come under fire — most recently in a string of unsubstantiated allegations by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — for refusing to release more than two years of tax returns.
Here’s the transcript from ABC:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You did bring up the tax returns. How many years of tax returns did you provide to the Romney campaign?
PAWLENTY: Well, I don’t know the exact number, George, but I — you know, there were several years, I believe.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Several years. So more than two?
PAWLENTY: Well, we don’t get into the details of the vetting process, but I — I gave them a bunch of tax returns. I don’t remember the exact number of years.
Meanwhile, Romney campaign adviser Beth Myers told reporters in a briefing Sunday that the campaign required “several” years of returns from prospective vice presidential candidates.
Despite the criticism and polls showing that most people want him to release more returns, Romney has insisted that he will not do so at the behest of the Obama campaign. In 2008, Romney released 23 years of tax returns when he was being vetted by John McCain for the vice presidency.
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