Friday, July 27, 2012
Anonymous Hacks IRS Database- Publishes Romney Tax Returns
On Thursday evening, the mysterious group of hackers known as Anonymous successfully hacked the main database for the Internal Revenue Service. The group appeared to have a singular target- Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Romney has been criticized by both parties for his failure to produce more than one past tax return. According to Ann Romney on ABC’s “Good Morning America” they had no intention of ever disclosing the contents on those returns: “We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life”. Anonymous however, seems to have thought that we “the people” might want to know a little more about the man who seeks the White House.
The Anonymous attack successfully retrieved 25-years worth of Romney’s tax returns and published them without permission on major websites throughout the Internet. The majority of these websites removed the returns within minutes, however it was too late to completely protect the candidate’s already tainted image. We at The Orbson Oracle were able to examine Romney’s 2008 tax return and found that he had good reason to fear its release. The 2008 return paints a picture of an extraordinarily wealthy man, whose low tax rate and bizarre itemized deductions will surely raise many questions as to his suitability to be President.
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul stated last week that “there has been no year in which Romney paid zero taxes”. In 2008, this was true. He earned $23,425,316 and paid $412.18 in federal income taxes. This calculates to a federal tax rate of 0.0018%. How did Romney get his tax burden so low? According to his return, he had approximately $23,407,000 in itemized deductions. These deductions ranged from $78,923 for “Toupee Creators Unlimited” and $41,826 for “Spray-on tan services” to a $3.8 million dollar write-off for a trip to Las Vegas with potential campaign donors. The Romney family also paid salaries to their numerous employees including, two yacht captains, three pilots for their private jets, two professional dog walkers, one toupee stylist and a “live-in contortionist”. What someone does with a live-in contortionist, one can only speculate. However, the $891,064 Romney spent on an “EWS Donor Party at the Pennsylvania Mansion” might give us a clue. While the return does not indicate what “EWS” stands for, given that the deducted supplies for the party included “Venetian masks, alcohol, lubricant and various Egyptian leather accessories” it was most likely an “Eyes Wide Shut” party.
In addition to his wild nights, Romney also deducted health related expenses. These included $127,000 for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for a condition termed “Pseudologia fantastica” also known as Compulsive Liar Syndrome. This may explain why the Republican nominee’s views seem to change dramatically depending on his audience. In fact, his recent string of political gaffes may be the direct result of his inability to keep up with the many competing “truths” he has spoken over the past year. According to noted Psychiatrist Bryan King, “Pathological liars seem utterly sincere about their lies, but if confronted with facts to the contrary, will often just as sincerely reverse their story." According to Politifact, a news organization that researches the veracity of politician’s statements, only 16% of Romney’s examined statements were found to be completely true.
While the 2008 tax return only gives us a brief glimpse into the life of Mitt Romney, it is unlikely that the other 24 years would have given us a true complete picture. Given that Romney has several secret tax havens in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and until recently Switzerland, we will likely never know the extent of his holdings or of the other unorthodox appetites he quenches with that money. However, the Anonymous hack did succeed in giving Americans a better understanding of the Republican candidate.
Photograph of Mitt Romney courtesy of Adam Glazman
Photograph of Guy Fawkes Mask courtesy of Anonymous Editor