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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Someone Stole Romney's Tax Returns

By Stephen Braun

Associated Press
 - from the Tallahassee Democrat

 The Secret Service said Wednesday it is investigating the reported theft of copies of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s federal tax records during a break-in at an accounting office in Franklin. Some­one claiming responsibility demanded $1 million not to make them public.

An anonymous letter sent to Rom­ney’s accounting firm and political of­fices in Tennessee and published online sought $1 million in hard-to-trace Inter­net currency to prevent the disclosure of his tax filings, which have emerged as a key focus during the 2012 presiden­tial
 race. Romney released his 2010 tax returns and a 2011 estimate in January, but he has refused to disclose his re­turns from earlier years.

Romney’s accounting firm, Pricewa­terhouseCoopers, said there was no evi­dence that any Romney tax files were stolen.

In Washington, Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan confirmed the agency was investigating. The Rom­ney campaign declined to comment.

Franklin police said there were no recent alarms or break-ins reported at the site.

The building does not restrict access during business hours and has no guard. Access to the doors and elevators ap­pear
 to be controlled by keycard.

The data theft was claimed in letters left with political party offices in Franklin and disclosed in several Ten­nessee- area newspapers. Jean Bar­wick, the executive director of the Wil­liamson County Republican Party, said employees in the GOP office found a small package on Friday with a hand­written
address. The package con­tained a letter and a computer flash drive, she said.

Peter Burr, the chairman of the coun­ty’s Democratic Party, said he received a version of the letter and a thumb drive on Aug. 27. “I have no way of knowing this is real or not,” he said. “I doubt it is, but I suppose it’s conceivable.”

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