Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has, to put it mildly, been vocal about wanting GOP candidate Mitt Romney to release all of his tax information.
"The word's out that he hasn't paid any taxes for ten years," Reid said in a speech from the floor of the Senate. "Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn't."
Reid repeatedly accused Romney of paying no federal taxes for the past 10 years, often quoting information from an undisclosed source familiar with the Romney's financial situation.
But last week, Romney disclosed new information about what he pays to the IRS, mainly more detailed documentation of the past two years and summaries of the past 20 years.
It showed that Romney and his wife Ann have paid an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent in 2011 - below the national average but a far cry from the zero that Reid claimed.
And to address the Nevada senator's allegations more specifically, the Romneys disclosed they paid an average effective federal tax rate over the last 20 years of 20.2 percent and owed state and federal taxes each year. And their financial managers says the lowest effective federal tax rate the couple paid during that time was 13.66 percent.
Reid has offered no proof to dispute their accounting or to back up his earlier allegations.
For using the floor of the Senate to spread rumors without definitive proof, Reid earns the latest Whopper of the Week, a distinction given out by the Washington Guardian to highlight efforts by politicians to mislead the public.
Whether Romney has paid enough in taxes or used offshore tax shelters is fair game for political debate. But there should be consequences for leveling allegations without the proof, especially now that Romney has provided information showing he paid taxes each year.
Instead, Reid has continued to cast aspersions.
"The information released today reveals that Mitt Romney manipulated one of the only two years of tax returns he's seen fit to show the American people," Reid said in a statement following Romney's release of the tax returns. "And then only to 'conform' with his public statements. That raises the question: what else in those returns has Romney manipulated?"
The senator doesn't specify in his statement what manipulation he believes Romney did. But it could be the fact that the candidate gave $4 million to charity in 2011, but only counted roughly $2.25 million as a deduction. Had Romney counted all of his donations as deductible, he would have paid a rate lower than 14.1 percent.
But is that what this has come to? One politician criticizing another over the amount they gave to charity?
Whether Romney has millions of dollars in offshore accounts as a tax haven is a question many voters will probably want answered before Election Day, and the GOP candidate would do well to give a definitive answer to the subject.
But Reid's decision to air allegations of 10-years of tax dodging without proof -- especially when leveled on the floor of the Senate -- stoops to a low worthy of the Whopper.