Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt is offering $1 million for copies of Mitt Romney’s unreleased tax returns — just days after an anonymous group claimed to have stolen copies of the GOP candidate’s returns and offered them to anybody interested for exactly that price.
Conveniently enough, last week an anonymous group posted to hacker dumpsite Pastebin claiming to have stolen electronic copies of Romney’s returns from the Franklin, TN, offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Adding intrigue to the dubious claim, four-gigabyte flash drives were mailed to the headquarters of both the Republican and Democratic parties in Williamson County that allegedly contained the tax returns locked behind an encryption key — and which the U.S. Secret Service promptly confiscated.
The group was apparently motivated by money rather than politics, vowing to release the encryption key if they don’t receive $1 million in Bitcoins from the Romney camp by September 28. Confusingly, the blackmail note also offers to release the key immediately if “other interested parties” send them $1 million to a different Bitcoin account, even though those parties could presumably just wait until the end of the month.
But still, if Larry Flynt is offering, the folks behind the Pastebin post may want to contact him through the number appearing in his ad (800-251-2714) or shoot him an email at HUSTLERtipline@LFP.com.
Even if those blackmailers are just bluffing, Flynt may still have a few takers on his offer, which also seeks “details of [Romney’s] offshore assets, bank accounts and business partnerships.” Gawker’s John Cook managed to get his hands on 950 pages of documents about Romney’s investments, offshore assets and business interests. Unfortunately for Cook, he’s already published the whole trove online for public perusal. But maybe Larry could give him a free subscription at least?