Romney says tithing makes him hesitant to release tax returns

WASHINGTON Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:51pm EDT

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns at LeClaire Manufacturing in Bettendorf, Iowa, August 22, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns at LeClaire Manufacturing in Bettendorf, Iowa, August 22, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/John Gress

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said his charitable giving to the Mormon Church, a practice known as tithing, makes him uneasy about revealing more of his tax returns as demanded by Democrats, according to an interview in Parade Magazine.

"Our church doesn't publish how much people have given. This is done entirely privately," Romney told the magazine in an interview to be published on Sunday. "One of the downsides of releasing one's financial information is that this is now all public."

Democrats and others are pressuring Romney to release more than two years of tax returns. He is expected to be officially nominated next week as the Republican candidate to take on Democratic President Barack Obama on November 6.

Romney has maintained he will not reveal more than his returns for 2010, released in January, and for 2011, expected by mid-October.

As a Mormon, Romney says he abides by the practice of giving 10 percent of his income to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Romney has given $4.1 million to the church over the past two years, amounting to 9.7 percent of his adjusted gross income, according to his 2010 tax return and a 2011 estimate he has released.

(Reporting by Kim Dixon and Peter Henderson; Editing by Howard Goller and Xavier Briand)

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