Sunday, July 15, 2012

Why didn't Romney use his Swiss/Caymans money to create American jobs?

Romney has been under attack in recent days regarding the end of his tenure with Bain Capital.   To briefly summarize, Bain did some politically-icky things between 1999, when Romney went to Utah to run the Olympics, and 2002, when he finally and completely left Bain, receiving a buyout/retirement package.  In addition to typical but impolitic actions like outsourcing jobs, which Bain had been involved in when Romney was fully in charge, Bain also engaged in completely radioactive actions like investing $75 million in a company which disposes of aborted fetuses.  It would devastate Romney's campaign to have all of these things directly tied to himself instead of his firm.

Correctly recognizing the danger to his campaign if Bain's 1999-2002 actions could be ascribed to him personally, Romney sat down on Friday for interviews with ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CNN.  In these interviews, he denies any memory of any activity, whether a board meeting, conference call, board meetings for companies Bain partly owned, or anything else, involving Bain Capital in those years.  He says in the NBC interview that "I had no work whatsoever with the Bain Capital people."  This claim contradicts legal filings by Bain from those periods which include Romney's signature (including the aborted-fetus folks), as well as other filings which list him as "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president".  It also contradicts Romney's testimony in 2002, when he was aiming to prove Massachusetts residency to run for governor despite having been running the Olympics in Utah for the past three years, when he stated he returned for "a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meeetings, Thanksgiving, and so forth".  He also said in the residency testimony that he attended board meetings for Staples and Marriot on behalf of Bain.

It also defies common sense that a rich guy would be in town occasionally for those business trips and Thanksgivings and not at least have meeting with the Bain folks and make sure they weren't using his tens/hundreds of millions of dollars to invest in raiding factories, aborted fetus removal or anything else he might find objectionable or politically inconvenient.  He discussed in a back-and-forth with Rick Perry during a debate that he was willing to drop a landscaping company that employs illegal immigrants to avoid poor political optics.  He apparently doesn't find offshoring American jobs to be worth the same concern.

He applies a similar lack of concern for his bank accounts in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, all well-known tax shelters.  These accounts contain (or contained, as the Swiss one at least is now closed) as much as $32 million, so it ain't chump change.  He claims at the end of the NBC interview that he didn't know where his money was, as his assets were all in a blind trust.  By Romney's own words, he states he didn't bother telling the trustee of his blind trust to not put his money in these tax shelters.  Why didn't he?  Shouldn't he pay a political cost for not doing so?

The company line from the Romney campaign on the Bain and tax shelter account issues are that Romney was an absentee landlord.  He had tens of millions in assets, in Bain in 1999-2002 and in his own Swiss and other accounts as recently as 2010, and supposedly just didn't care what that money did.  Those assets could have allowed an American bank to make tons of loans and boost the American economy, but Romney chose to let his money people do whatever made him the most money personally, rather than ensuring, even as recently as 2010, that his investments helped America.

1 comment:

NWest said...

Romney is most certainly unfit to be president, based on everything you've mentioned above, but also because he's just as invested in the crony capitalism of wall street as Obama is, maybe even more so (though it seems Goldman and JPMorgan employees are giving to both lavishly).

People sometimes say "I'd like a third choice." Me? I'd like a second.