By Brad Friedman on 7/6/2012, 6:35am PT  

Far be it for me to call TPM's Josh Marshall "stupid". It just makes a more eye-catching headline in this case. And it also happens to be a fact, as I see it, that Romney's refusal to release his tax returns from any year prior to 2010, and especially his local state return from 2010, is about hiding evidence of a felony crime, as much or likely more than it is about hiding embarrassing details of off-shore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Switzerland, etc.

Josh argued yesterday that the latter is the reason for the presumptive GOP nominee's continuing refusal to publicly disclose those tax returns. It's almost certainly a part of the campaign's calculations and, as he posits convincingly in his blog item headlined "Kryptonite", hard visual confirmation of Romney's foreign tax shelters would be difficult to shake off with explanations to Mr. and Mrs. America.

But the use of legal off-shore tax shelters can be massaged through the "conservative" "messaging" machine with a legitimate-sounding case that avoidance of federal taxes is somehow a patriotic "conservative" duty and/or otherwise yet another example of Romney's keen business insight and smart, fully legal fiscal discipline which every American should someday aspire to.

What cannot be so easily brushed off or propagandized away --- not without completely undermining the current culmination of the GOP's nearly-decade long effort in creating the imaginary notion of massive Democratic "voter fraud" which must be rectified immediately with polling place Photo ID restrictions (actually little more than the GOP's attempt to suppress the legitimate Democratic-leaning vote while preventing almost no existing voter fraud) --- is the likelihood that those tax returns would reveal indisputable evidence that this year's GOP standard-bearer is an actual voter fraud felon himself...

To date, there has been no legitimate explanation for Mitt Romney having cast a vote in the January 2010 Special Election for the U.S. Senate between Scott Brown and Martha Coakley. At the time of his vote (which he has admitted doing) he owned no house in MA, and yet he was registered to vote from the address of his son's unfinished basement in Belmont, MA.

While Romney owned houses in both CA (purchased in May of 2008 for $12.5m) and NH (April of 2009 for $3.5m) at the time, it wouldn't be until July of 2010 --- a full six months after the Special Election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy --- that the state's former Governor would once again own a house there, after purchasing an $895,000 townhouse in Belmont.

The state's requirements for residency for the purposes of voting are quite clear in MA. Ones residence must be "where a person dwells and which is the center of his domestic, social, and civil life," according to state law. Yet, the evidence demonstrating that Romney ran afoul of those requirements in order to vote in that election are similarly clear, at least as fairly meticulously compiled by a former Republican Presidential candidate last year.

Romney's 2010 state tax return, which he still refuses to release, even though he finally released his federal return from that same year, likely shows that he did not pay state income tax in MA, but rather declared himself to be a NH resident for its more friendly tax purposes.

Such a declaration, if revealed via his 2010 state tax return, would underscore the apparent fact that Mitt Romney himself is actually a voter fraud felon.

I can think of no reasonable response to that fact if it were to finally be revealed without ambivalence on official tax returns --- not while the GOP has so many years and so much invested in their voter suppression "ferreting out 'voter fraud'!" canard this year.

Romney's going to have to deal with the off-shore investment thing whether the tax returns are released or not. He's already being forced to do so. And, to some extent, his base even likes that part of him, perversely or not. On the other hand, to date, he's largely been able to keep the voter fraud thing --- about which the Pavlovian GOP base has been well-trained over the last ten years to yelp uncritically --- far below the radar. That all changes if he releases his taxes and they show what it seems likely they will.

No amount of "conservative" "messaging" will be able to hide the fact that the party itself has nominated someone who, himself, committed voter fraud in a high-profile federal election just two years ago, even as the party is itself in courtrooms across the nation trying to defend their case that access to the polling place must be tightened up in order to keep those ne'er-do-well zombie ACORN "Democrat" thieves from stealing the election yet again by "diluting" the votes of legal American voters with their rampant voter fraud.

And it is that point, even more than embarrassment over off-shore tax havens, as Josh otherwise-convincingly asserts, which is likely the real "Kryptonite" right now to the GOP, and likely driving Romney's untenable position of keeping years of tax returns a secret even as he runs for the highest office in the land.

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6/13/11: Full details about Romney's apparent voter fraud in MA.
6/16/11: My interview [MP3] with former GOP Presidential candidate Fred Karger, just after he first revealed the facts of Romney's voting record and filed a complaint in the state of MA.
1/23/12: Updated details on Romney voter fraud concerns after he finally disclosed his 2010 federal tax return, but refused to release that year's state return.

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