Although businessman and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has been running for president of the United States for about six years now, voters are still missing much critical information about his past.
While the mainstream media obsessed over the gaffe-filled elements of the Romney 2012 campaign, many of the most controversial stories concerning the Republican nominee have hardly been examined. The result is an incomplete picture of the man who could be Commander-in-Chief.
What follows are a few troubling stories from Mitt Romney’s past, all of which have been reported by the media, and subsequently forgotten by all but the most ardent political observers.
Profiting from the Auto Bailout while jobs were shipped to China
Although Romney infamously declared that the federal government should “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” the self-described “son of Detroit” profited handsomely off the auto bailout, through U.S. tax-payer money.
As Greg Palast reported in The Nation, Romney and his wife Ann made millions through an auto parts company called Delphi after it was bought cheap by Romney’s partner - and one of his primary campaign donors - Paul Singer. Singer and his partners took billions in federal bailout dollars in exchange for continuing to supply auto parts to General Motors and Chrysler. They kept the money, stiffed the company’s pensioners, and moved 25 of Delphi’s 29 plants to China.
Profiting off 9/11
Among the wave of questionable business deals that have come to light during the presidential campaign, Romney’s involvement with an insurance startup called Endurance Specialty Holdings has largely been unreported or forgotten.
Endurance Specialty Holdings was designed to purchase debt from insurance companies that suffered huge losses in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. According to a report by Politicker’s Hunter Walker, Romney was invested in the company through Golden Gate Capital — a private equity firm started by one of his former colleagues at Bain Capital — and CCG Investment Fund, LP. By the end of 2003, Endurance Specialty Holdings was reporting a net income of over $263.4 million.
Sensitive to charges that he had profited from the 9/11 tragedy, the Romney campaign insisted that the Republican nominee had no control over his investments, as they were managed by a blind trust — an institution that Romney himself famously described as an “age-old ruse.”
Profiting from disposal of aborted fetuses
Another of Romney’s questionable Bain deals that has gone underreported is the firm’s profitable investment in the medical waste disposal firm Stericycle. Bain Capital sank $75 million into the company in 1999 — an odd investment for a staunchly anti-abortion Republican to make. After all, Stericyle has long been attacked by right-wing groups for disposing of aborted fetuses. The investment raises serious doubts about Romney’s stated timeline of his exit from Bain Capital. Before Mother Jones’ David Corn broke the Stericycle story, Romney claimed that he had fully left Bain in February of 1999. The SEC documentation of the Stericycle deal proved that wrong, however, prompting Romney surrogates to explain that he had “retroactively retired” from the company in 2002.
Had the story garnered more attention, it could have irreversibly damaged Romney’s credibility regarding his business record. Furthermore, it shows an incredible disconnect between Romney’s alleged pro-life stance, by profiting from something he alleges he does not believe in.
Hidden tax returns and that inflated IRA
The broader story of Romney’s financial history has gone largely unquestioned since he released two years of tax returns and a summary of tax rates from the previous 20 years in late September. Mitt Romney has refused to release taxes for any of the years prior to 2010.The media is wrong to let Romney off the hook on this topic after he released his returns from 2010 and an adjusted 2011, yet voters still don’t know what rates Romney paid from 1990-2009 (if he paid any taxes at all,) or how his IRA grew to such massive proportions, among many other unanswered questions.
Most people don’t remember that in 2009 the Internal Revenue Service announced that those who illegally hid money in offshore accounts would not be prosecuted for tax evasion if they would come forward to settle up. Given his refusal to disclose his taxes is it unreasonable to suspect that they would reveal that he took advantage of this amnesty to avoid prosecution?
Potentially violating Ethics Laws
Throughout Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts, the state did frequent business with a marketing company called Imagitas. The company, which was run by former Bain employees Tom Beecher and Tobin Ryan — brother to Romney’s running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan — had been started based on loans from Bain while Romney was still running the company. When it was sold in 2005, Bain — from which Romney still makes a massive amount of money through dividends, interest and capital gains — tripled its original stake.
Did Romney violate ethics laws by steering contracts towards a company in which he had a financial stake? Nobody knows. Romney never filed disclosure forms detailing in which individual companies Bain Capital held investments, and he and his campaign have refused to answer questions about his financial connection to Imagitas.
Family connections with a Ponzi Scheme
In 2009 Tagg Romney, Mitt’s eldest son, partnered with several North Carolina investors who are facing a lawsuit in connection to the $8 billion Stanford Financial Group Ponzi scheme, the second largest such scam in history behind only Bernie Madoff’s. Tagg helped these investors form a new company — called Solamere Advisors, a similar title to Romney’s own Solamere Capital — shortly after Allen Stanford was arrested for his crimes.
As Lee Fang reported in The Nation, Tagg Romney then falsely claimed to reporters that Solamere Capital had no involvement with Solamere Advisors — likely because Mitt Romney has invested about $10 million of his own money into his son’s business.
Potential Voter Fraud
In 2010, Romney voted for Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts’ special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by the late Ted Kennedy. To prove his State residency, Romney claimed that he was living in his son Tagg’s unfinished basement, which seems unlikely for a quarter-billionaire with multiple houses of his own. If Romney was lying about his residency, it would constitute voter fraud, a crime punishable by up to five years in jail.
Commission of that particular felony would be highly ironic, given the extreme lengths to which Romney’s party has gone to root out alleged election fraud. The vote-fraud story has mostly gone unnoticed by the mainstream media, however.
Even if these topics were reported more vigorously in the media, it would not matter to Mitt Romney or his supporters. He does not care about conflicts of interest, cronyism or the American tax-payer. He only cares about being President. However, these instances must lead voters to yet again call into question the ethical character of this man seeking the Presidency of the United States.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com