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Secret Service Investigating Romney Tax Hack Claim 836

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up dept.
A federal investigation has been launched after hackers claimed to have stolen Mitt Romney’s tax returns. The hackers have given Romney until September 28th to pay $1 million in bitcoins or they say they will release the returns. From the article: "The claim was made in a post on the Pastebin site on Sunday that alleged that Romney's federal tax returns were taken from the offices of PriceWaterhouse Coopers in Frankin, Tenn., on August 25 by someone who snuck into the building and made copies of the document. The message author threatened to release the files publicly on September 28 and said copies of the files had been given to Democratic and Republican leaders in that county. Democrats have made Romney's refusal to release his tax returns a key point in their criticism that he is not in touch with working class voters."
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Secret Service Investigating Romney Tax Hack Claim

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  • by DeathToBill (601486) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:09AM (#41245973) Journal

    Someone actually thinks bitcoins are worth having.

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:10AM (#41245983) Homepage Journal

    I don't know about the veracity of the claim that came in yesterday, but one of the things that I thought about when Romney started trying to surpress this information was that is was a just about the same thing as waiving a red flag in front of a bull. It's bound to make a "hacker" go for the ultimate crack and get this information (that most of us think should be public anyway) out of the electronic vault and onto the net.

    It also, IMHO, shows that Romney and his band of followers live in a bubble of corporate reality and not in the real world. Only someone one the C** would be arrogant enough to think they could keep this type of information a secret forever when you're that visible to the public and when you're decisions are going to have immediate and lasting consequences for the entire world.

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:25AM (#41246091)

      Except there was no electronic vault. As the summary quite clearly states, someone broke/snuck into the building and made copies. I'm not even sure where the term "hacker" comes in here... maybe just because they want to be paid in bitcoins?

      "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."

    • by zippthorne (748122) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:31AM (#41246155) Journal

      Interesting. One of the things I thought when Romney stated he wasn't going to release the information was that he was trying for a rope-a-dope, much like the President did to McCain with the birth certificate issue.

    • by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @08:46AM (#41247089) Homepage

      Bullshit! You don't think the Democrat politicians games the same IRS rules like the Republicans in office? Here's a clue for you Micky, every rich man, women, and child does. BECAUSE THEY DO **NOT** DO THEIR OWN TAXES!!! Some other firm does it for them whom specializes in US tax code.

      Both the players and the game suck. But lets start with the common denominator here. Overhaul the US tax system. Go flat tax if we have to. But absolutely nothing will change in behavior with those with disposable income to obfuscate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:11AM (#41245987)

    I remember when Bush II was being attacked as a draft dodger. Someone released faked documents, which the news media picked up as real. When they were discredited, no one would touch the issue anymore, whether it was legitimate or not.

    This could turn out to be a similar ploy to help Romney - by associating the tax returns with criminal activity, it might get too hot for the Dems to touch, making an otherwise legitimate issue go away.

    • by furytrader (1512517) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:20AM (#41246051)
      Your conspiracy theory seems like another example of the well-recognized cognitive dissonance that Democrats have about Republicans: We're all really stupid, except when we're able to hatch these amazingly sophisticated conspiracies to steal elections. Move on, indeed!
      • No one is saying that Republicans are stupid in terms of playing politics. They have stupid policies such as force-feeding creationism in science class, but they are geniuses at fear-mongering, name-calling, and just flat-out lying in order to get what they want. You want to talk about leaving Iraq? Well, you're a cut-and-run coward who hates America. You want to help the poor and middle class? You're engaging in class warfare, and you hate success. These guys are freaking geniuses at political gamesmanship. Look at ObamaCare. They were able to stop even a single Republican representative from voting in favor of the bill. Are you telling me that not one of them thought the bill was a good idea or was the leadership that absolute? Hint: it's the latter.

        • by Mr Krinkle (112489) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @08:24AM (#41246807) Homepage

          I'm hosed for karma now.
          ". Are you telling me that not one of them thought the bill was a good idea "
          yes. And one apparently even agreed with all of it. (Senate was zero)
          I don't know anyone that has read all 2801 pages that agrees with all of that bill. There are lots of good things in the bill, but there is also a ton of crap and just horrible things in that bill.
          Had that bill been broken into say 28 different items, (100 pages per. I know it wouldn't really work out that easy) then the people voting on it would have maybe read each of them before the vote and then decided to vote for some of the good, and punt some of the bad.
          I have also spoken with several representatives that said "We didn't have time to read all of it, so we just voted the party line" (Both Ds and Rs)
          There was entirely too much in that one bill to not have issues with and there was entirely too much in there for there to not be good in it.

          health care in this country does have serious issues and needs a lot of fixes. BUT there was too much crap in this bill for it to be the "fix" we need. Including "savings" by "keeping benefits the same" they are going to pay doc's less for the same procedures, because they have become common. So for procedure A in 2014, a Dr will make less than he did in 2008. It's still the same procedure, and inflation has occurred, soooo.

          • wrong. Many of them where favorably to the idea until 2010. When there number one priority wasn't trying to do whats best, or run a government, it was defeat Obama, even if they have to burn the country to the ground.

            You might want to actual read up on the republican in office history before answering for all of them, you only look more stupid. Don't have time to read up on that? fine, but don't act like you know what the fuck you are talking about.

            "I don't know anyone that has read all 2801 pages"
            I have. Twice. I also have a section by section break down. I know many other people who have read it.

            " So for procedure A in 2014, a Dr will make less than he did in 2008. It's still the same procedure, and inflation has occurred, soooo."
            OK, you haven't read it, but you are willing to make statements about it? you're a fucking idiot.

            • Given that 300 pages were added to the PPACA in the early morning hours (2:00 AM or so) and at the time of the vote those changes were unavailable to Republican House members -- it was stored on a Democrat file server -- it is a bit absurd to say that anyone was in favor of that bill prior to it's being submitted in the house by their opponents.

        • You want to talk about leaving Iraq? Well, you're a cut-and-run coward who hates America.

          Haven't you heard the news from this year's RNC? Bu- uh, Obama's wars were a TERRIBLE idea and never should have been started.

      • by Creedo (548980) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:44AM (#41246285) Journal
        I don't think that anyone is accusing the big dogs of the GOP of being idiots. Sure, some of the mouthpieces are real pieces of work(Palin, Bachmann, Akin, Perry), but the real movers are not. The common accusation is that they are selfish plutocrats who are willing to sell the country out to the religious right while pushing the middle class and poor under in the bus. Sure, the general stance in regards to science that is associated with the GOP as a whole paints them in a dim light, but I think that that is largely just pandering to ignorant voters(with some obvious exceptions, such as are listed above).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by medcalf (68293)
      It could also be the other way around. Obama's past campaigns have a history of getting private information disclosed, like opponents' divorce records. It's as plausible that the Obama campaign illegally obtained the records from the IRS, and when public pressure wouldn't force Romney to release the records, decided to stage a burglary to get them out in the public without the campaign's fingerprints on them. I doubt that happened, but it's as or more likely than that Romney was attempting to take them out
    • by DarkOx (621550) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:40AM (#41246241) Journal

      The thing is I don't really see tax returns as all that interesting or a 'legitmate' issue.

      We mostly know what sort of business Romeny was in and we known plently about the caracteristics and behavior of those businesses. That said Bain Capital's tax returns would be of far more interest than Romeny's personal returns. They would provide lots of detail about the business and the kind of action Romeny voluntarily engagues in.

      Personal returns won't tell us much. How much money did he make. Well we already know it was dumptruck loads, from most of our personal prespectives. Honestly does it matter if it was 3M or 5M?

      What part of it was salaray and what was investment income? We know from what has been released most of it is going to be investment income.

      Did Romney use tax advantaged vehicles to protect as much of his personal wealth from the tax man as possible? I am sure he did, just as I do and I am sure you do as well. Got a 401k, IRA, one of the college savings plans for your kids, did you chose to buy a home rather than rent to get the advantage of the Intrest deduction? I bet you did and that does not make you a tax cheat. Romeny did not get to make the rules. I don't think its fair to expect him to leave anything one the table when you and I don't and won't.

      Now had he been a sitting Senator or House Rep and actually voted on tax rules that he himself could take advantage of there might be some scandal there but that is not true of his case. McCain and Obama were a different story.

      I think this noise about individual tax returns is just that noise.

      • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @08:36AM (#41246955) Homepage Journal

        That said Bain Capital's tax returns would be of far more interest than Romeny's personal returns.

        Bain is an LLC, so the taxation is all pass-through to the partners. So there really aren't any tax filings by Bain as a company, other than the 1065, which is a pretty basic income statement. Not interesting at all.

      • by Above (100351) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @09:04AM (#41247317)

        I agree mostly with the parent, but not entirely.

        To the extent Romney legally made a lot of money, and legally paid his taxes the actual amounts are pretty nearly irrelevant.

        However, there is some interesting speculation out there that what's in his returns is in fact he was a tax cheat. You see, in 2009 the IRS had an amnesty program for people with money stashed overseas. We already know Romney had a bunch of money stashed in overseas accounts. The amnesty was because a high percentage of folks with overseas accounts (upwards of 80%, by some estimates) had failed to report their assets in the required way. Since they are the 1%, the Congress passed a "one time out" program, admit breaking the law, but rather than get thrown in jail or pay a penalty simply pay the tax you would have owed.

        We don't know if Romney took advantage of the program, but the odds are quite high he did. If so, what he did by participating was admit he had cheated the tax code for some number of years. That would absolutely be relevant for a political candidate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:12AM (#41246001)

    The original release and on pastebin makes no mention of the money. Speculation at the moment is that someone took the original release and "added" a ransom and resubmitted it to pastebin.

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:14AM (#41246009)

    "$1 million in bitcoins" ... and they say *Romney's* out of touch with the real world?

  • by synapse7 (1075571) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:17AM (#41246035)
    Is there some reasoning why thieves that broke into a building and supposedly made copies of a document(why not just take the actual papers instead of making copies?) would be labeled hackers? The whole thing sounds suspect to me.
    • ...why not just take the actual papers instead of making copies?

      Not raising suspicion. If stuff vanishes there's a higher probability that it gets noticed too early.

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @08:08AM (#41246597)

    hackers claimed to have stolen Mitt Romney’s tax returns

    and

    someone who snuck into the building and made copies of the document

    seem to have a slight discrepancy lol. So they want $1 mil in bitcoins and yet they sent copies to "Democratic and Republican leaders in that county." Oh yes, I'm so sure those will never see the light of day if he pays after they gave them to the democrats. No wonder these people were too stupid to hack it digitally. They're operating this like complete morons.

  • "Hackers" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Revotron (1115029) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @08:10AM (#41246611)
    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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