In filing a complaint with the IRS, the N.C. GOP touted transparency in elections. "I and the party have absolutely no fear. We encourage disclosure, openness, legal, fair," said Chairman Robin Hayes.
So should GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory voluntarily release his tax returns? What about Mitt Romney? Hayes danced around the questions. He declined to offer his opinion.
"That's up to them," he said. "They need to make a personal decision and their campaign does as well as to what they disclose."
Hayes said Democrats are using the tax return question to distract from the real issues. "There's nothing wrong with making a living and it has become a trademark, a hallmark of the Obama campaign and the Perdue-Dalton campaign to try to distract from their dismal economic record ... to try to make an issue out of someone being successful," he said.
Democrats contend McCrory needs to be more forthcoming about his current employer and work on corporate boards with stakes in state policy. His rival, Walter Dalton, wants McCrory to release his tax returns and his client list from Moore & Van Allen, a law firm where he works as a non-lawyer.
As for Romney, who is facing pressure from within his own party to disclose the tax returns, Hayes suggested it wouldn't help the Republican's presidential campaign. "He has disclosed reams of information," Hayes said of Romney releasing two years worth of tax returns so far. "The accusations, many of them false, have come as a result of his disclosure, so you want to feed that particular issue or do we have a main issue which is leading this country and the state out of an economic disaster?"
Gerrick Brenner, the executive director at Progress North Carolina, said the claims are baseless.
"Apparently, the N.C. GOP doesn't want anyone pointing out the extreme right-wing shenanigans taking place in the General Assembly, but it fits the recent pattern of trying to stifle public debate," he said in a statement. "The Out-of-Control tour was completely legal. We won't give in to their intimidation tactics."