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Obama team going after Mitt for "not so blind trust"

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WASHINGTON--The Obama team is opening a new front on Thursday, attacking rival Mitt Romney over what he has called his "blind trust." Pivoting off an Associated Press story, Obama campaign attorney Bob Bauer is calling the trust "not so blind."

Bauer said in a statement, ""First, Governor Romney now admits to the Associated Press that the personal trusts holding his investments are not truly 'blind' under federal ethics law. For almost a decade, Governor Romney has claimed an arms' length relationship from his investments by claiming a 'blind trust,' which was being managed by his personal attorney. That is how he denied responsibility for his investments in a Swiss bank account, Chinese companies, companies that do business in Iran, and Bermuda and Cayman Island tax havens. Yet, even as he admits that his 'blind' trust isn't truly blind, he's only promising to fix it if he's elected president. This raises serious questions about exactly what conflicts of interest currently are raised by Mitt Romney's foreign investments and how they impact his policies and positions on the campaign trail."

Watch for the Obama campaign to ramp up on this front today. The AP story is HERE.

Click below for full Bauer statement.

below, from the Obama campaign....

BAUER: ROMNEY'S TRUST NOT SO BLIND AFTER ALL
Romney's Admission Raises Questions About Tax Avoidance, Length of Bain Tenure

CHICAGO, IL -- Obama for America General Counsel Robert Bauer released the following statement regarding Governor Romney's admission that his so-called blind trust is not truly blind in an Associated Press article published last night. The full article can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/MiIGjA

"First, Governor Romney now admits to the Associated Press that the personal trusts holding his investments are not truly 'blind' under federal ethics law. For almost a decade, Governor Romney has claimed an arms' length relationship from his investments by claiming a 'blind trust,' which was being managed by his personal attorney. That is how he denied responsibility for his investments in a Swiss bank account, Chinese companies, companies that do business in Iran, and Bermuda and Cayman Island tax havens. Yet, even as he admits that his 'blind' trust isn't truly blind, he's only promising to fix it if he's elected president. This raises serious questions about exactly what conflicts of interest currently are raised by Mitt Romney's foreign investments and how they impact his policies and positions on the campaign trail.

Second, the Associated Press has discovered that, in 2010, while Mr. Romney was planning to run for President, it was arranged for a family trust to acquire new interests in Bain Capital through a Bain partnership established in the Cayman Islands. This arrangement entitles the Romneys to millions of dollars in fresh income from his Bain profit sharing agreement for years to come. Remarkably, Governor Romney's campaign has admitted that he continues to receive the 15% carried interest tax rate - instead of ordinary income rates -- on his Bain capital profits. These carried interest rates are available to active participants in investment firms who provide 'services' to those firms. But Mitt Romney claims to have ceased any formal relationship with Bain in 1999 and distances himself from any Bain Capital actions or investments since that time. The basis for this preferential tax treatment is not known, because the Governor will not disclose it.

In fact, none of Romney's agreements with Bain, including his retirement agreement, have been disclosed, 'leaving voters with little information about his continuing ties to the firm.' Nor has the Governor yet fulfilled the commitment he made during the primaries to provide, as have Presidential candidates before him, more than one year of tax returns.

Therefore, only the Governor can answer the significant questions raised by what we do know about his investments and tax obligations. These include:

-- Why has the Governor decided to defer the establishment of a true blind trust--committing to it only in the event that he wins the election? What level of involvement in his trust and investments is the current "non-blind' arrangement structured to protect?

-- What are the conflict of interest implications of the arrangements made now, when the Governor is a presidential candidate, for millions to be paid to him during a Romney Presidency?

-- If the Governor has ceased providing services to Bain, how does he continue to receive preferential carried interest tax rates on his Bain investments? What is the nature of the financial relationship he maintains with Bain Capital?

-- When will the Governor release the tax returns required to allow for a clear picture of his investment and tax strategies and positions in recent years?"


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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 7, 2012 10:54 AM.

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