Harry Reid, the Senate’s top Democrat, says Mitt Romney paid no income tax for 10 years. His source, he says, is a Bain Capital investor. But he won’t say who. The tactic could backfire.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is unabashed as he makes a serious, unsubstantiated claim about Mitt Romney: that the Republican candidate for president did not pay any taxes for 10 years. That, the Nevada senator says, is why Mr. Romney will not release tax returns beyond those he has already made public, his 2010 return and an estimate for 2011.

Senator Reid, in fact, is so certain he’s doing the right thing that he repeated his charge on the floor of the Senate Thursday night, and put it out in a statement. Reid’s assertion first appeared in a Huffington Post interview published on July 31. He said that about a month ago, he got a call from an investor in Romney’s former company, Bain Capital, who claimed that Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years.

“Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” Reid told HuffPo. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?”

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