Through the Republican primaries, Gov. Mitt Romney resisted calls from other candidates to release more details of his net worth, tax returns, investments and assets. Even when he finally released his 2010 tax return, The Washington Post called them “the most opaque they have encountered.”
What little information he has released paints a picture of a man who has gamed the system to make money and avoid taxes.
For example, Mitt’s tax return shows that much of his estimated net worth of $250 million or more (he won’t reveal the exact amount) is invested in offshore tax havens such as Grand Cayman, Bermuda, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
Romney has $30 million in Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands alone. He’s listed as the sole owner of Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd. in Bermuda which he set up in 1997, then transferred to his wife’s newly created blind trust the day before he was inaugurated as Massachusetts’s governor. His 2010 returns show a $3 million Swiss bank account, which has been described as a bet against the U.S. dollar, and 25 investments in the catergory of “over $1 million.” Finally, Romney is known to have an unknown number and amount of investments in Luxembourg.
Of course, Romney denies that the offshore investments were intended to avoid US taxes. But there are only two reasons to stash money in offshore accounts: Secrecy and tax evasion.
Moreover, the US government estimates such offshore tax havens result in the loss of $100 billion in tax revenue per year, which means that average taxpayers have to make up for it by paying an estimated $484 per year.
There are many more questions about Mitt’s investments, such as an I.R.A that mysteriously grew to $102 million, payments to Ann Romney from Bain for “services performed,” investments in offshore “blocker” corporations, and investments in feeder tax havens designed to skirt taxes and regulations.
Despite all this, Romney claims his tax consequences were “the very same” as if he’d invested his money in the US. If that’s true, the obvious question is why didn’t he?
Another question is in regard to the blind trusts and retirement accounts he created prior to being elected governor of Massachussetts in order to avoid conflicts of interest. You see, the trusts are managed by his family attorney, which affords him even more secrecy due to client-attorney privilege.
But the issue that has gained the most attention is Romney’s claim that he ended his relationship with Bain Capital in February 1999. However, he still receives money from Bain and, as recently as 2002, he was listed on SEC filings as the CEO, chairman of the board and sole owner of Bain Capital.
This means that Romney may have filed false documents on numerous occasions that could make him guilty of one or more federal felonies.
Last, but not least, is the question of Romney’s fundraiser in London during the Olympics. It’s illegal for US political candidates to receive money from foreign interests, yet The London Telegraph has reported that donors will pay $25,000 to $75,000 to have dinner with Romney. The sponsor, Barclay’s lobbyist Patrick Durkin, has so far raised $927,160 for the campaign.
It’s not a problem that Romney is rich. But it should be a problem that he has used a combination of accounting tricks and offshore investments to avoid paying taxes…especially since his effective tax rate for 2010 was only 15 percent.