DENVER – When he was running for the GOP nomination in Colorado’s 2006 governor’s race, former Congressman Bob Beauprez’s campaign demanded that his primary opponent release his tax returns.
Now, as a top surrogate for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who’s under fire for refusing to release more than two years of incomplete tax returns, Beauprez appears to have changed his tune.
“Romney has released not only everything required by law,” Beauprez told reporters at a Romney campaign press conference Wednesday.
“He’s released exactly what John McCain released four years ago. In addition to that, he’s released over 500 pages of personal financial information. For heaven’s sakes, how much more do you want?”
Several prominent conservatives, including William Kristol, have encouraged Romney to release more tax returns to eliminate what the campaign views as a distraction that diverts attention away from President Obama’s economic record.
Six years ago, Beauprez’s campaign demanded that his primary opponent, Marc Holzman, come clean with his own tax returns, even though Beauprez didn’t recall that when asked about it on Wednesday.
“We might have,” Beauprez said. “I don’t think I cared much about it because I knew we were going to win. But the campaign might have called for that.”
According to a report in the Rocky Mountain News on April 18, 2006, Beauprez’s campaign manager ripped Holzman for failing to release his tax returns.
“This is about coming clean with the voters,” Beauprez campaign spokesman John Marshall told the Rocky Mountain News. “Before voters give our next governor the state’s $15 billion checkbook, it’s reasonable to expect candidates to assure the public that their own finances are in order.”
Beauprez’s campaign even went as far as to launch a website aimed at pressuring Holzman to release his tax returns, according to a Westord article a month later on May 18, 2006.
“The site has launched a ‘disclosure watch,’ making much ado of Holtzman’s refusal to release his tax returns and wondering about the ‘hidden’ source of a half-million-dollar loan he made to his own campaign,” Westord reported.
On Wednesday, Colorado Democratic Chairman Rick Palacio directed his criticism not at Beauprez, but at Romney.
“What it says isn’t so much about Bob Beauprez,” Palacio told FOX31 Denver. “What it says is that the Romney campaign is telling all of its surrogates throughout the country to try and move people’s attention away from tax returns on to other things.
“I think Bob Beauprez certainly had it right six years ago when he called for one of his opponents to release his tax returns. And that’s exactly what Mitt Romney should be doing,” Palacio continued.
“I think Mitt Romney should listen to not just Bob Beauprez of 2006, but Republicans around the country who are saying it is about transparency.”