Reid: Romney is guilty of my evidence-free accusations until he proves himself innocent; Update: Repeats accusation on floor of Senate

Let’s see if we can get the Democratic Party philosophy of late correct.  Unless a business owner foots the entire bill for his employees’ contraceptives, he must pay ruinous fines even when his religious practice forbids participating in contraception and sterilization.  Similarly, business owners who want to open a restaurant in places like Chicago and Boston have to publicly vow to support the Democratic Party’s agenda and stop allying with groups that oppose it, or else have mayors and councilmen threaten to put the business owners out of business. And if a Democratic Party leader accuses you of a crime with no evidence whatsoever, you are expected to be considered guilty unless you prove yourself innocent.

Welcome to Harry Reid’s America:

We noted yesterday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the Huffington Post that what he claimed was a Bain Capital investor had called him to say Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years – without saying who told him this, or what basis there was for the claim.

Earlier today, he doubled down on the unsubstantiated claim with reporters in Nevada:

“I am not basing this on some figment of my imagination,” Reid said in a telephone call with Nevada reporters. “I have had a number of people tell me that.”

Asked to elaborate on his sources, Reid declined. “No, that’s the best you’re going to get from me.”

“I don’t think the burden should be on me,” Reid said. “The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes. Why didn’t he release his tax returns?”

Really?  Is that how it works in the US?  A government official accuses someone of a felony, and the burden of proof falls on the accused?  Funny, I missed that in my civics class.

Note too that the number of sources has magically grown from one person — supposedly an “insider” in Bain, who would have had no access to Romney’s personal tax information in the first place — to “a number of people.”  Who were these people, Senator?  What was the “number” of sources you have for this accusation?  And how, pray tell, did they have access to Romney’s private tax information? The answers to these questions, I suspect, will come from the same source that Reid used in the first place — his own rear end.

First we have Democratic mayors in Boston and Chicago acting like thugs, and now we’re getting McCarthyism from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  In three short weeks, the Democratic Party has utterly disgraced itself, from its leadership on down.

Update: Jon Stewart ripped Reid on last night’s show for the original accusation, but mostly for the addendum that George Romney would be “embarrassed” over the issue:

Stewart said Reid was just throwing around ridiculous speculations that he “pulled out of [his] ass” over Romney’s taxes, remarking that wild, irresponsible speculation over what is in Romney’s taxes is more the job of a late night comic than a sitting senator.

But, as Stewart noted, “people throw around baseless accusations all the time” in political campaigns without having the facts to back them up. What makes Reid particularly terrible in this case? Stewart highlighted Reid’s comment that George Romney would be “embarrassed” for what his son is doing. This led Stewart to make a slight change to the segment title: “You, Harry Reid, Are Really, Really Terrible.” Stewart tore into Reid for playing the “dead card.”

But Reid has a little list of one! – no, seven! – no, fourteen! – no, eight! – sources for this claim that he can’t name. Doesn’t that count for anything?

UpdateII: Reid just repeated the accusation on the floor of the Senate:

He’s refused to release his tax returns, as we know. If a person coming before this body wanted to be a cabinet officer, he couldn’t be if he did the same refusal Mitt Romney does about tax returns. So the word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for ten years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t. We already know from one partial tax return that he gave us, he has money hidden in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and a Swiss bank account. Not making that up, that’s in the partial year that he gave us. Mitt Romney makes more money in a single day than the average middle-class family makes in two years–or more.

I know that the term “Senate ethics” is often an oxymoron, but doesn’t accusing a political opponent from the Senate floor of a felony without offering a shred of proof violate some kind of ethics rule?  “The word’s out” refers only to Harry Reid and Harry Reid alone.  Not only is this despicable and grossly irresponsible, it should be actionable in court.