By Lynn Zhong

New Investigation Asks Where And How Mitt Romney Hides His Money

July 4, 2012 1:20 am Category: Memo Pad, Politics 33 Comments A+ / A-
New Investigation Asks Where And How Mitt Romney Hides His Money

Mitt Romney never wanted to release his tax returns. He refused disclosure in 1994 during his unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid, in 2002 when he won election as Governor of Massachusetts, and in his failed 2008 attempt to gain the Republican nomination for President. Last January Romney finally released his 2010 tax return and an estimate for 2011 after constant badgering by his Republican primary rivals.

Those documents revealed his offshore bank accounts and his tax rate, just shy of 15 percent, or less than what most middle-class Americans pay, despite his estimated worth of up to $250 million. As the Washington Post reported: “By offering a limited description of his assets, Romney has made it difficult to know precisely where his money is invested, whether it is offshore or in controversial companies, or whether those holdings could affect his policies or present any conflicts of interest.” Now journalist and author Nicholas Shaxson digs deeper in a new investigation published by Vanity Fair.

According to Shaxson, Romney is using every possible loophole to avoid paying more taxes. He takes his payments from Bain Capital as investment income, allowing him to pay at a rate much lower than the 35 percent he would owe if he had earned an “ordinary income” of salaries and wages.

But as Shaxson also points out, nobody even knows how much Romney should pay because nobody knows what his offshore accounts actually hold. He maintains accounts and entities not only in Switzerland, but in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands as well.

Consider the example of Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd., a Bermuda-based corporation set up by Romney in 1997. This entity wasn’t even disclosed in financial documents until 2010, and upon examining that return, Shaxon writes: “We have no idea what is in this company, but it could be valuable, meaning that it is possible Romney’s wealth is even greater than previous estimates.” Furthermore, Bain Capital holds at least 138 funds in the Cayman Islands, with Romney having personal interests in at least 12 that are worth as much as $30 million. The Romney campaign has stated that his taxes would not be affected even if he included these interests, but there’s no way to confirm this because everything is hidden behind confidentiality laws.

Equally intriguing are the Romneys’ blind trusts, designed, as Shaxon explains, “to avoid conflicts of interest for those in public office by having politicians’ assets managed by independent trustees.” But in Romney’s case, the blind trusts don’t seem so blind. Their personal lawyer, Bradford Malt, was appointed to be the trustee, and in 2010, the Romneys invested $10 million in Solamere Founders Fund, which was founded by their son Tagg and former campaign fundraiser Spencer Zwick.

Shaxson also asks whether Romney used “blocker corporations” in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere to escape paying taxes on his retirement account, which is estimated to contain as much as $102 million. Offshore blocker corporations are used to avoid the Unrelated Business Income Tax.

The Obama campaign has hit Romney’s financial holdings hard in ads — and even created a world map showing the overseas locations where the Republican candidate holds accounts. Other Democrats have joined this line of attack. In an interview with The Huffington Post, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland asserted, “Why would any person who aspired to be president, as Mitt Romney has for probably much of his life, open a Swiss bank account? What does that say about his political judgment and what does it say about his commitment to the United States of America?”

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin adds that there are only two reasons why one would want to hold a Swiss bank account: “Number one, you believe the Swiss franc is a stronger currency than the United States dollar. And that apparently was the decision the Romney family made during the Bush presidency.”

“And secondly, you want to hide something, you want to conceal something,” he said. “It is impossible for him to explain or defend owning a Swiss bank account.”

With Shaxson’s revealing piece, speculation over Romney’s handling of his money will no doubt continue. If the Romney campaign wants everyone to stop questioning his tax returns and offshore accounts, why not just disclose all of the information, as his father George Romney did during his own 1968 presidential run?

New Investigation Asks Where And How Mitt Romney Hides His Money Reviewed by on . Mitt Romney never wanted to release his tax returns. He refused disclosure in 1994 during his unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid, in 2002 when he won election as Gove Mitt Romney never wanted to release his tax returns. He refused disclosure in 1994 during his unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid, in 2002 when he won election as Gove Rating:

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Comments

  • alaskabrat007

    Theres your sign people

  • howa4x

    Just what American needs at this time a Tax hider who dosen’t believe in the country he is running for president enough to invest his money here. People invest in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes. When the money is in Switzerland no one can find out how much is there, so we have to take Romney’s word of how much it is, and we all know how good his word is. The right wing is always funny but on this issue they are silent. They demand to see Obama’s birth certificate but don’t care that their nominee refuses to invest here and refuses to create jobs with his hidden assets, and won’t even release all his taxes. So right wing,stop moralizing everyone until your own house is moral 1st.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7DKWSXHQIDBW5PUAPZ2HZAYYUY Baron Cormac

      Romney has already been proven to have his holdings in companies that have broken American manufacturing businesses and offshored the jobs associated with them.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/6J6SE4LGZ64NBODFC3DLIRUNHQ sanorio

      I thought the problem was him being a venture capitalist and investing money in this country? Now you guys are complaining about investments abroad? Is there anything that he could do with his money that you guys wouldn’t complain about him doing?

      • RobGinChicago

        Yes, but I’m not sure that his a$$ could really hold $250 Million.

      • howa4x

        he made 250 million correct? what did he do with his money? He took it out of the country and didn’t create one job. He appealed to the right wing saying he was anti abortion yet made money on a company disposing of fetuses. He is a hypocrite!

        • montanabill

          Proof or read last sentence in reply to alice.

          • howa4x

            Bill,
            By romneys own admission he put his money in off shore acounts in switzerland and the islands. I’m not a gosssip or making this stuff up. His net worth that he reported is 250 million.

          • montanabill

            I don’t think anyone was denying that. People are free to put their money anywhere they want. The accusations are that he is dodging taxes, which people believe must be happening if he has money out of the country. If he were doing anything illegal, the IRS would be all over him.

          • howa4x

            The argument here is that he is running for president of this country and instead of creating jobs here he not only didn’t invest here but created a corporation in Bermuda , not in NYC. He can’t use the excuse that investments were better there and blame it on Obama because he did this when Bush 1 and clinton were presidents. Bill how can you back a man that does that. Another point is that while only recently the Swiss cooperated on bank accounts the Caymens don’t, and other Island countries don’t, so all I’m saying he we are taking the word of a man that flips and flops all over the place

          • montanabill

            I’ll give you a pass on Romney’s financial dealings since you aren’t in that league and don’t really have an understanding of wealth management. Axlerod counts on that ignorance. However, I can’t imagine anyone who backs Obama holding flip flopping against someone.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/NNMWK4VZTELWBT5TLW6M6SWHRI alice

        Yes, he could declare his income and pay tax on it. That’s all. If he wants to be the president, he needs to be honest about his income (because he needs to be honest about whom he owes, who is motivating him or has power over him) and about where it is – without lying about it! If he is trying to hide income offshore because he “can’t afford” to pay regular income tax, we need to know it.

        Are you proud to support a man who is a vulture capitalist, who buys companies, rapes & pillages them to get every last dollar out of them, pay themselves fees out of the companies’ last few dollars, then absconds leaving the U.S. (I.E., taxpayers, like you and me) to come in to rescue the workers whose pension plans were plundered? Is that someone you support?

        The romney has done this multiple times. Many times. He (his company) goes in with exactly this program in mind. He doesn’t lay off all the workers by accident. He doesn’t export the manufacturing part of the company to Puerto Rico by happenstance, fer chrissake.

        He exported his salary, capital gains and ‘management fees’ to offshore accounts.

        His attitude, which is that everybody else but him should pay taxes, is not the kind of mindset that I want in a president. He believes that once he acquires a company, he can rape it and its employees with no guilt whatsoever. Is this what you want in a president? What do you think he would do if, say, Montana had a budget surplus (they usually do). Wouldn’t you expect the romney to go there and buy it, rape it, then sell it again? I’m talking about the state. If corporations are people, states are businesses, Montana is up for sale (well, it would be a leveraged buyout), and the president is a CEO.

        Don’t mistake him for someone who gives a damn about you.

        • montanabill

          Ask me if I think any politician cares about me or you. We are either votes or wallets or both. I repeat my offer. If you know that Romney is a tax cheat (like a few Obama appointees), then report him to the IRS, collect a reward and become a hero to the wealth envy crowd. Otherwise, you are a gossip with no facts.

    • montanabill

      You obviously don’t know that the Feds can find out the amount of money in Swiss accounts anytime they want. All of you also seem to ignore the fact that the IRS is not going after him. They are satisfied with his tax returns and payments. Again, if any of you know differently, turn him in the IRS, collect a reward and be a hero to the left wing wealth envy crowd. And before you repeat the rant that he does nothing but ship jobs overseas and make a profit, learn the real facts. They are available, just not at Axelrod’s house. (well, maybe they are, but he won’t admit it.)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/C22AJV5GXSF4QE3YJY5IGBTULU TSB

    No individual should pay a tax rate higher than Romney or Buffet, etc. Whatever they pay or GE pays so should every citizen pay. That could be a basic standard to adopt to collect taxes.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7DKWSXHQIDBW5PUAPZ2HZAYYUY Baron Cormac

      GE Pays $O. Where will the money come from to pay for the homeland security everyone cries for?

  • Melvin Chatman

    “SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND”
    SO, does he need the WHITE HOUSE to use as a STASH HOUSE?
    I just WONDER!!!

  • montanabill

    Apparently the IRS does not have a problem with Mitt Romney’s money or where it puts it. I don’t care whether it is in Switzerland (where the government can, indeed, find it) or under his mattress. It is his money, fairly taxed, and what he chooses to do with it is his business. If you think otherwise, then beware the day when someone thinks you are not taking care of your money are they see fit.

    • ExPAVIC

      Montana you moron, our tax system is based on everyone paying their fair share. Hiding funds where they can be taxed at a lower rate is cheating.

      You should spend less time with the sheep and more time with people that know the tax code.

      Come on let’s hear your most recent rantings and drivel, you like to spout off so much

      • montanabill

        They give rewards for turning in tax cheats. You could make a fortune by calling the IRS and turning in Romney. After all, you claim you know he’s hiding something, so it must be true. Let me know how you do.

        • ExPAVIC

          PHONEY ANSWER, TYPICAL TALIBAN TALK

          Come on big mouth, you are always spouting on here criticizing Obama. Now you have a chance to clarify a REAL issue and not just male bovine fecal matter the American Taliban Republicans drug up out of some obscure drivel spoken years ago.

          Just like Hillary’s criticism of Obama which was taken grossly out of context. What are Dr. Goebbels apprentices Karl Rove and Stuart Stevens running out of ideas?

          Come on hot shot big mouth, say something at least reasonably intelligent Duh doesn’t count.

          • montanabill

            You could have simply stated that you didn’t any proof or information for the IRS rather than coming off as a blowhard.

          • ExPAVIC

            WHAT?

            THIS FROM SOMEONE WHO SPOUTS OFF WITH LARGE AMOUNTS OF MALE BOVINE FECAL MATTER?

        • ExPAVIC

          MONTANABILL The Phoney silent American Taliban Republican creep. Let’s hear something intelligent, or just something not intelligent as usual.

  • citizenmb

    This revelation should be the end of his candidacy, but Republicans are proud of him! That says it all about that party.

    • Diogenes67

      Not a chance. The base doesn’t care.

    • ExPAVIC

      SIMILAR

      If you liked Bush, you will love Romney.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JMT6C3LHLJDD4RX4NB4KY5ICAE gargray

    How can Romney be commited to America, would you vote for someone who hides his money overseas?

  • ExPAVIC

    WHAT?

    OK you American Taliban Republican plutocrats don’t just sit there, let’s hear what you have to say about this new information.

    Maybe if you have time you may want to explain why none of RoMoney’s adult male children have served in the military. If this guy is supposed to be such a great patriot why doesn’t he put it into action ?

    This Mormon fake is such a waste of time. How can anyone with any sense defend this clown?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NNMWK4VZTELWBT5TLW6M6SWHRI alice

    Yes, he could declare his income and pay tax on it. That’s all.

    Are you proud to support a man who is a vulture capitalist? Who buys companies, rapes & pillages them to get every last dollar out of them, pay themselves fees out of the companies’ last few dollars, then absconds leaving the U.S. (I.E., taxpayers, like you and me) to come in to rescue the workers whose pension plans were plundered? Is that someone you support?

    The romney has done this multiple times. Many times. He (his company) goes in with exactly this program in mind. He doesn’t lay off all the workers by accident. He doesn’t export the manufacturing part of the company to Puerto Rico by happenstance, fer chrissake.

    He exported his salary, capital gains and ‘management fees’ to offshore accounts.

    His attitude, which is that everybody else but him should pay taxes, is not the kind of mindset that I want in a president. He believes that once he acquires a company, he can rape it and its employees with no guilt whatsoever. Is this what you want in a president? What do you think he would do if, say, Montana had a budget surplus (they usually do). Wouldn’t you expect the romney to go there and buy it, rape it, then sell it again? I’m talking about the state. If corporations are people, states are businesses and the president is a ceo.

    Don’t mistake him for someone who gives a damn about you.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NNMWK4VZTELWBT5TLW6M6SWHRI alice

    OH YEAH – and the words “JOB CREATOR” is such a hoax!
    Those corporations know full well that creating jobs in Thailand is MUCH cheaper than creating jobs in America. So they export the jobs.

    Over the eight years that bush43 lowered corporate taxes, many jobs went away. None were created. We have eight years of proof that lowering corporate taxes does NOT create jobs. (where are they, then?)

    Everytime I hear those words, usually spoken by a republican white male legislator who has commitments to keep, I want to gag. Lowering corporate taxes makes them split the money amongst themselves to put in offshore accounts; it does not make jobs. This has been shown already – there’s lots of proof. QED.

    job creator, my aching ass.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SSL7HYCIWBYF54SPH572BOEXUA oltimer

    You’re talking Mitt, not George, about releasing tax returns. Hey, the man earned it (how? that’s up to everybody to comment) .He is wise to protect his assets offshore ( he’s not an idiot like common folk who are taxed at 28% rate or higher). Knows to take advantage of tax loopholes. That makes us a**holes. He’s interested in his personal benefit. You think if (by God hope not) elected Prez that he’ll worry about the citizens of America (think rich one’s only)? So all you freaking myopic mental midgets vote for Romney!!

  • john_doer

    When Mitt’s father ran for president in 1968, he released 12 years of tax returns. He stated “one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.” Mitt has released one year, and that revealed he had declared accounts in Bermuda, The Cayman Islands and Switzerland. All countries that are tax havens and have secrecy laws to protect depositors. Not illegal, but highly suspect. Why not Germany, France or Italy? He may and I repeat may release a later year tax return, but he can’t release a previous year. You see Mitt doesn’t like to pay taxes. When he worked for Bain, they lobbied for the tax break that allows them to pay 15% on carried interest. When they wanted to close the loophole, Bain spent millions again on lobbying. When he was on the board of directors of Marriott, he was Audit Chairman. He reduced their tax rate to 6.8% through offshore tax dodges and sleazy loopholes. Enough of this, the real story starts below.
    In 2009 the IRS had a tax amnesty for people that had money in undeclared Swiss bank accounts. The IRS was given a list of 4,500 names, and let the financial world know they were going to go after these people. More than 30,000 people came forward and the government collected 2.7 billion in taxes and penalties. The company that came forward with these names was UBS, the same company that Mitt has his “declared” account with. Some believe up to 10 trillion dollars are stashed in tax havens by Americans. His staff was sweating bullets in January when he released his tax release. Now that there are calls for him to release his previous tax returns, they are back in panic mode. They have no way to explain the mysterious appearing accounts and the sudden surge in assets. If he does release them, look for white out and a copy of Photo Shop at his campaign office.

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