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I almost couldn’t bring myself to share this story but I think it is worth mentioning for a few reasons. It brings me back to Democrats who complained about President Obama being deemed guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of the “birther” movement seeking information about the President’s place of birth. Now the shoe is on the other foot and Mitt Romney’s tax returns have become the holy grail for Democrats to expose prior to Election Day.

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Report from the Washington Examiner:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that the burden of proof is on Mitt Romney to prove that he hasn’t evaded paying his taxes, despite the legal principle that a person accused of a crime is “innocent until proven guilty.”

Reid accused Romney of what amounts to tax fraud, but he doesn’t think he to provide evidence for the charge. “I don’t think the burden should be on me,” Reid told reporters on a conference call, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. “The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes. Why didn’t he release his tax returns?”

The Nevada Democrat earned a law degree at George Washington University in 1964 — not so long ago that he should have forgotten that due process protections in the American legal system require the accuser to prove that the accused is guilty for a case to stand. Of course, Reid isn’t filing a formal charge, so there is no impediment to him making such accusations.

“What if he has paid no taxes, like I am saying he hasn’t,” Reid told reporters, before mentioning Romney’s offshore bank accounts. “I mean, gee whiz, rather than ask me why I should do this, that is a story you should be writing.”

Reid claimed to have “several” sources who told him that Romney had avoided paying taxes for at least a decade. He wouldn’t name any of those sources.

The quote from Reid which I emphasized above really stood out to me. It is Reid’s way of telling the press they should be writing stories alleging that Romney didn’t pay taxes for a decade, not asking Reid to verify his claims.

Reid has no evidence to present other than unnamed sources which he refuses to divulge. By this burden of proof, I should be able to claim anything about anyone so long as I can quote some unnamed sources that I never have to reveal.

I don’t want to come off as taking a side on this issue but I just have to ask, is this where Presidential politics have sunk?

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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