An anonymous group is claiming to possess stolen copies of tax domuments belonging to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The group is also threatening to release the documents to the public if a $1 million dollar ransom is not paid. The U.S. Secret service is investigating the situation. However, sources observing the claim contend that it remains to be seen whether or not the threat is a hoax.
The group wrote an online posting to PriceWaterHouseCoopers (a business consulting firm) claiming the following: “Using your office in Franklin, Tennessee, we were able to gain access to your network file servers and copy over the tax documents for one Willard M Romney and Ann D Romney.” The group said they would send copies “to all major news outlets” and gave a September 28 deadline if its needs were not met.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, which offers services involving taxes and auditing tweeted a comment stating there was no evidence of unauthorized access to the company’s site. However, the company maintained that they are aiding the secret service with its investigation.
The anonymous group also wrote that flash drive copies of the stolen documents have been sent to the company, and to the county Democratic and Republican offices. They also claimed that a scanned image of Romney’s signature from the forms was included.
Jean Barwick with the Williamson County, Tennessee, Republican Party told CNN in an interview that her office found a padded envelope on Friday outside the door to the party offices. The package “didn’t seem credible,” because it said “for learders” instead of “leaders,” she said. Inside was a letter (that has been posted online) and a flash drive.
Romney has released his 2010 and 2011 tax returns but has not released any other information. He has also contended that he has paid no less than a 13 percent tax rate on his personal income over the past 10 years. He’s come under intense scrutiny from Democrats for not disclosing his most recent tax information. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has even accused Romney of not paying any taxes over a 10-year period. Romney has vehemently denied Reid’s claims.