Ever since Tim Palenty withdrew early from the Republican nomination race, he seems to have been auditioning for the vice-president’s slot. I thought that he could be a likely choice, having views that are extremely conservative, enough to placate the party’s rabid base, but also able to project an amiable persona that would not alienate the rest of the electorate too much. Indeed it was for these very qualities that I was surprised that John McCain did not pick him in 2008 over Sarah Palin.
But this report from the Guardian suggests that Pawlenty has a problem in his background with regards to not releasing his tax returns.
The touting of Tim Pawlenty as potential running-mate for Mitt Romney has reignited questions over his refusal as governor of Minnesota to release tax returns during a scandal over payments from a company owned by a close political ally.
Pawlenty continued to refuse to release his tax returns by saying that to do so would be to “reward reckless behaviour” by his opponents in levelling allegations against him.
Asked by the Guardian if he would make the relevant tax returns public if Romney selects him as the Republicans’ vice-presidential candidate, Pawlenty said he would not because they had already been reviewed by the Minnesota legal authorities.
I think that this means that Pawlenty is definitely out. Romney may think that he can put out the fire over not releasing his tax returns if he stonewalls long enough. (See here for a list of 10 possible reasons Romney may not want to release his returns). It would be madness for him to pick a running mate whose selection would only re-ignite that same question.