Claim: Anonymous group allegedly hacked Romney tax records via TN firm

“Romney’s 1040 tax returns were taken from the PWC office 8/25/2012 by gaining access to the third floor via a gentleman working on the 3rd floor of the building. Once on the 3rd floor, the team moved down the stairs to the 2nd floor and setup shop in an empty office room. During the night, suite 260 was entered, and all available 1040 tax forms for Romney were copied. A package was sent to the PWC on suite 260 with a flash drive containing a copy of the 1040 files, plus copies were sent to the Democratic office in the county and copies were sent to the GOP office in the county at the beginning of the week also containing flash drives with copies of Romney’s tax returns before 2010. A scanned signature image for Mitt Romney from the 1040 forms were scanned and included with the packages, taken from earlier 1040 tax forms gathered and stored on the flash drives.

The group will release all available files to the public on the 28 of September, 2012.” — More. (Via Betsy Phillips, who blogs here: This is some Mission  Impossible s..t. And if it’s true, it’s a major embarrassment for PricewaterhouseCoopers. And, really, a gross violation of Romney. I mean, yes, he should indeed release his tax returns. But come the f..k on! That doesn’t mean someone should steal them.

Well, it’s not like political hacking is unfamiliar territory in Tennessee.

Tennessean: The Williamson County Republican Party this morning notified police about a package received last week that claims to include copies of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s tax returns hacked from an accounting office in Franklin.

UPDATE: Seen in comments: This report doesn’t make any sense.  I’m a CPA.  There’s no reason a PWC office in TN would have access to Mitt Romney’s tax returns.  (You would think the returns would have been prepared by the firm’s Boston office.)  For obvious reasons, people who work in one office do NOT have unfettered access to the electronic client files of another office.
A second reason the report doesn’t make sense is that it refers to scanned signature copies of Romney’s returns.  I don’t have signed copies of my own clients returns.  Few CPAs do.  The reason is fairly simple.  We prepare three copies of our clients returns — a copy for our file, a copy for their personal file, and a copy to be mailed to the IRS.  We sign all three copies and the client, generally, only signs the copy mailed to the IRS.  So, how did a copy with Romney’s signature make it into the files of the TN office of PWC?

 

39 thoughts on “Claim: Anonymous group allegedly hacked Romney tax records via TN firm

  1. no problem.

    holder will throw the book at them.

    by which i mean, Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

  2. Hack? Seems like a burglary to me. If true, smells a lot like Watergate…I am sure that Holder will be right on it.

  3. Actually, after reading their follow-up letter where they solicit people to send them money in order to release the encryption key…I think the whole thing is a clever fraud.

  4. What were copies of Romney’s tax returns doing in Franklin, TN??? There is a PWC office in a Ste 260 in Franklin, but hard copies? Or was the PWC network supposedly hacked? This act is both evil and desperate. It reeks of Axelrod tactics. The results to be published are probably also lies.

  5. This report doesn’t make any sense. I’m a CPA. There’s no reason a PWC office in TN would have access to Mitt Romney’s tax returns. (You would think the returns would have been prepared by the firm’s Boston office.) For obvious reasons, people who work in one office do NOT have unfettered access to the electronic client files of another office.

    A second reason the report doesn’t make sense is that it refers to scanned signature copies of Romney’s returns. I don’t have signed copies of my own clients returns. Few CPAs do. The reason is fairly simple. We prepare three copies of our clients returns — a copy for our file, a copy for their personal file, and a copy to be mailed to the IRS. We sign all three copies and the client, generally, only signs the copy mailed to the IRS. So, how did a copy with Romney’s signature make it into the files of the TN office of PWC?

    Could it have happened? Yes. Awfully unlikely, however.

    • Second opinion of another CPA — concur completely. Normal practice is to produce three copies: one for the office (unsigned), two for the client. Sounds like a hoax.

    • If signed by Romney, you know Obama & Axelrod got them from the IRS, which is clearly illegal.

      • My thoughts wxactly. Some is making up a big fake story to cover up the stealing of the info from the IRS files.
        Remember “Joe the plumber’s ” privacy invasion

      • My thoughts exactly. Some is making up a big fake story to cover up the stealing of the info from the IRS files.
        Remember “Joe the plumber’s ” privacy invasion

    • Would ANY office of PWC actually have physical copies of the returns? My firm (1 office with about 90 people) hasn’t kept physical copies of returns for years. We scan it all to the network and back up the whole network often.

      I’d be shocked if PWC hasn’t long since gone paperless.

  6. Look. Obama and the Democrats have had Romney’s tax returns given to them by high-ups at the IRS.

    But they just haven’t been able to release them because of well, that’s a FELONY. Hence the sustained pressure to get Romney to release them.

    They thought he would cave. But he hasn’t. Obama is desperate to get them out there but dare not seen to been involved.

    That’s it.

      • actually the tactic is not dissimillar to the 2004 obama senate campaign- where he got his republican opponent ryan’s sordid divorce records unsealed ( the tribune actually petitioned), leading to ryans withdrawl fron race.

        obama has a long history of dirty tricks

        look it up

        his pre senate races were also unsavory

        hope and change

        • Yeah, such a dirty trick to pressure the release of tax returns that, by your logic, probably prove illegal or at the very least, unethical practices by a presidential hopeful who preaches accountability and ethics. Why else would Obama pressure their release so much and Romney fight so hard to deny them?

  7. So will they next do the same for Pres. and Mrs Obama, and include college transcripts and theses? Or can we just assume that they are all Democrat party employees again?

  8. As many observers have noted, there’s little question the Obama campaign has Romney’s tax returns. That’s illegal, though–they had to have been obtained from the government, which indeed is Nixon territory–so there will have to be some cover story when they are inevitably leaked prior to the election. The Reid nonsense was a start, maybe this is the vehicle.

    And, yes, any word on whether this group hacked Barack’s SAT or LSAT scores?

  9. Why would anyone believe these are legitimate copies? Are these hackers/burglars interested in transparency in general or are they just democrat operatives? If non-partisan, why not drop by Columbia and Occidental and ‘hack’ Obama’s application forms and transcripts.

    • It’s hard for me to imagine that many people wouldn’t already have a lot of clues about Romney’s finances and have for many years. His firm works in the open and has worked with many people in deals involving many public details. Many people intimately involved here and there could easily not like Romney for reason x or y. Even getting an incomplete picture, it might still suggest a picture many Americans would dislike.

      These “hackers”, whether they have anything or not, if they exist, can be anyone who doesn’t want a Romney-like person to win the Presidency. Even during the Republican primaries, lots of Republicans expressed significant dislike for what they believed and perhaps still do Romney is about. He is elite in many ways, and in ways many don’t like.

  10. Richard Nixon is smiling in Heaven right now.
    Obama’s campaign has had access to Romney’s tax returns for quite some time. The IRS is part of the Executive Branch, and Democrats have never been shy about illegally obtaining tax and other confidential information on their “enemies”. See Joe the Plumber’s confidential court records/child support records. Or how about divorce records of political opponents. If you think some toady in the IRS hasn’t copied and sent Romney’s (and Ryan’s) tax records to the Obama campaign, then you don’t understand the modern Democratic Party.

  11. Meh. Obama has already hammered the tax returns for months. Anyone who still cares was never going to vote for Romney anyway.

    • So if this is true, we should just overlook it because it won’t change anyone’s mind? Really? Are you really that clueless?

  12. It’s conceivable, but just barely, that a group in TN might have prepared these returns. The Big 4 accounting firms (I’m a former tax partner with one) will have return-prep work done in lower-cost locations, either in the US (“onshoring” or “nearsourcing”) or overseas (“offshoring”).

    But as the other two CPAs have already said, it is extraordinarily unlikely that ANY PwC office would have copies with the Romney’s signatures. The return preparer’s work is done when the completed return is delivered to the client – the client takes care of signing and filing from that point.

  13. One other point: I don’t know that it matters if the returns don’t have the Romneys’ signatures — if they have a PwC preparer signature, then the Democrat talking point would be “that’s proof that these returns are correct, and if the ones Romney signed were any different, that itself is proof that Romney faked his returns and is a criminal tax cheat.”

    I’m not saying I agree with that — just that any returns with a preparer’s signature are going to be presumptively correct, at least in the eyes of political opponents and the media. (But I repeat myself.)

    • It’s no proof, but if accurate it creates many leads and can help form a much stronger picture. I’m sure people involved in some of the many deals may not all be willing to keep quiet, perhaps more so if Romney gets nervous and would lie in ways they would find offensive (or simply by being bought out by any of the several wealthy people who would be happy to see Romney sink in some way).

      • I should add, that if Romney appears to have billions from capital gain growth in an IRA account (very possible) and having paid $0 in taxes, that would likely result in a fair number of net lost votes. You only have to get close to that picture from mostly circumstantial evidence (and partial witnesses) to deter a lot of people who might not be thinking about this issue or did not really consider such large quantities of tax free dollars (perhaps net 1 or 2% effective tax rate if that) while they pay a much higher rate.

  14. Pretty much every few calendar years around tax filing day, news stories note that taxpayers in New England will get an extra day or two to file compared to other parts of the U.S. when April 15 falls on a Sunday or Monday, because the third Monday every April in Boston is Patriots’ Day, and the Internal Revenue Service’s tax filing office for the New England Region will be closed that Monday. If Mitt Romney is still listing himself as a resident of the Bay State, that’s where any return he or his tax accountants prepare should be sent to, not to some locale in Tennessee. (Where they go from Boston if someone else within the government is seeking access to them is another story entirely).

  15. The real truth is obvious. Obama cooerced somebody at the IRS to give his campaign Romneys tax returns, ala Nixon. Obama needs a way to get them out publically, without admitting he got them from the IRS, thus this bogus hackers story.

  16. Nixon told his aides to get the tax returns of his political enemies. The aides decided to not obey the order because they knew such an act went beyond the bounds of political dirty tricks. It was a crime for a reason and they believed they would be caught and punished. If nothing else, they had morals. They were Republicans.

  17. Remember when all the missing FBI and IRS files wer founf in Billary’s office in the White House.

  18. It is no small secret Utah Senator Orin Hatch and other LDS faithful lawmakers seem to have convinced the US Government that only LDS/Mormon return missionaries are capable of reading, writing and speaking a foreign language. Yet when they return these missionaries test at only an intermediate level of fluency – thus federally funded statewide elementary school level mulitple languages immersion programs were established (in what appear to be predominately LDS neighborhood schools. These children are expected to have advanced level foreign language fluency upon graduation for high school). Mormon return missionaries (60,000 serving worldwide) have been recruited by the CIA and FBI for decades. It is quite interesting how most international abductions, assaults, and deaths of Americans abroad go unsolved for months if not years, but when a LDS/Mormon church member is kidnapped (Russia & England), killed (China), or assaulted (worldwide) the crime is solved by either the FBI/CIA in 7-14 days or less. My bets are on Romney’s hijacked tax returns mystery being resolved and the culprits arrested in less than 7 days.

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