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Romney Campaign Attacked Opponent For Refusing To Release Tax Returns In 2002

"Her hands aren't clean."

Posted on July 17, 2012, at 3:25 p.m. ET

Romney and O'Brien shake hands at a 2002 debate.

Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has seen pressure mount from both Democrats and Republican pundits to release his tax returns. Romney has maintained that he is “simply not enthusiastic” about giving Democrats “hundreds or thousands of more pages to pick through, distort, and lie about.”

But in 2002, during his run for Governor Romney attacked his opponent Shannon O’Brien for not releasing her husband’s tax returns.

Romney said he declined to release his tax returns on a “principled position” saying it one debate “I value my privacy.” The Romney campaign accused O’Brien, who released her tax returns every year since 1998, of being disingenuous by releasing her but not her husband's returns, a former lobbyist who had worked with Enron.

Romney spokesman and current top Romney aide Eric Fehnrstrom claimed O’Brien was attempting to hide possibly embarrassing finances from voters.

"Her hands aren't clean. She can't claim to be disclosing anything until she discloses the returns of her husband, the Enron lobbyist,” Fehnrstrom said. “Under Shannon O'Brien, the state Pension Board lost millions by buying Enron stock when it was collapsing -- what is she hiding?"

The O’Brien campaign called the charge a “desperate attack” and did not release any returns.

BuzzFeed News’ FinCEN Files investigation exposed massive financial corruption on a historic global scale. Want to support our journalism? Become a BuzzFeed News member.

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