While Democratic lawmakers and operatives clamor for Mitt Romney to release a full catalogue of tax returns, Nancy Pelosi doesn't think members of Congress should be held to the same standard.
"When I run for president of the United States, you can hold me to that standard," she told reporters Thursday.
The House Democratic leader and former speaker made the comment when pressed about a new report that found most members of Congress are keeping their own returns secret. McClatchy newspapers requested tax returns from all members of Congress, but only 17 provided the documents. Nineteen reportedly told McClatchy they would not release the returns, while the rest didn't reply at all.
Pelosi, though, accused reporters of trying to change the subject when they questioned her about the reluctance of lawmakers to do what they want Romney to do.
"Why are we taking the focus away from the subject at hand?" she said. "A person has decided that they want to run for the president of the United States."
Pelosi argued that for presidential candidates, the standard is different. "There has been a tradition that tax returns are released," she said.
Pelosi tried to turn the tables on her questioners at one point, saying: "Some people think the same standard should be held for the ownership of the news media ... who are writing these stories."
Romney so far has agreed to release two years' worth of returns, but no more. He has suggested he doesn't want to give Democrats fodder for their opposition research.
Democrats, though, have used Romney's reluctance to release more tax records to paint him as secretive.
House Speaker John Boehner came to Romney's defense Thursday, calling the whole debate a "sideshow." He argued that neither presidential candidates nor members of Congress should have to release their records.
"I've never released my tax returns. That's my private business just like it's your own private business," he said. "It's a sideshow, that's all it is. The American people are asking the question, 'where are the jobs?' They're not asking 'where are the tax returns?'"