If you need any more reasons to give Mitt Romney the finger on election day, this InCity Times investigative piece by Steve Maher is it. We repost it FYI. And remember: VOTE for Barack Obama next Tuesday, Nov. 6, to save this country from war with Iran, Syria and possibly Russia! To save our environment! To save our global reputation. To keep our economy from re-booting to the Bush era trickle-down economic policy/bull shit! All plans that Romney wants to lay on us Americans. (Can we ship him to China?!) – R. Tirella
Mitt Romney’s tax returns: an InCity Times investigative report
By Steven R. Maher
Mitt Romney invested in Japanese automakers, European alternative energy companies, foreign pharmaceuticals, several French companies, and took a tax write off of $1.4 million for donating to his own charitable foundation. And much of Romney’s funds were invested through Goldman Sachs, the controversial Wall Street firm that received $10 billion in federal TARP money and hundreds of billions of dollars in federal loans.
Mitt Romney had good reasons to hide his tax returns. It provides a fascinating look at a man who would be an American President, but often put his money to work in foreign companies that directly compete with American manufacturers. While the American automobile industry was struggling to survive, Mitt was investing in Toyota and Mitsubishi. While campaigning for the country to free itself from the dependency of foreign oil, Romney was buying stock in foreign manufacturers of alternative energy sources. And in something you and I might get in trouble for doing, Romney gave $1.4 million to his own “charitable” foundation and reported it as a deduction on his tax return.
Romney’s tax returns, released Thursday January 24, 2012, show heavy reliance on the Wall Street firm of Goldman Sachs, which received $10 billion in federal TARP money and hundreds of billions of dollars in federal loans.
Well structured finances
First, a brief explanation about how Romney structured his finances to minimize his tax liabilities and provide for the lowest possible tax on his estate when it passes to his heirs. Not surprisingly, Romney appears to have greatly benefited from sophisticated legal and accounting advice.
Romney set up three trusts to house his property: the “Ann and Mitt Romney 1995 Family Trust” (the most fascinating of the group); the “W. Mitt Romney Blind Trust”); the “Ann B. Romney Blind Trust”; and the “Tyler Charitable Foundation” a “Nonexempt Charitable Foundation Treated as a Private Foundation”.
Theoretically a “blind trust” functions much like a super Pac – the owner of the assets, like the Presidential beneficiary of a super Pac, has plausible denial ability for knowledge of the Trustees’ investment decisions, which are supposedly made only by the trustees. Hence the description as a “blind” trust.
But the sole Trustee of all four Romney entities is R. Bradford Malt of the prestigious Boston law firm Ropes & Gray. All four entities’ tax reports were done by the same accountant, Daniel P. Feheley of the equally prestigious accounting firm Price, Waterhouse & Coopers. All four entities had their cash parked at Goldman Sachs and several purchased stock in the same companies, often selling stock on or within a few days or weeks of each other. Two of the trusts may have been “blind” and one a charitable foundation, but they seemed to make the same investment decisions at the same time.
Romney funneled his income into these trusts, and through the trusts, back into the private tax return of his wife and himself. Why the trusts?
All three of Romney’s trusts were “grantor trusts”, which Black’s Law Dictionary describes as follows: “A trust in which the grantor transfers or conveys property in trust for his own benefit alone or for himself or another.” Depending on the nature of the trust, Romney could have done this to transfer his property to his heirs or act as a tax shelter.
His own charity
Romney’s tax returned listed his income as follows:
• Total income listed was $21,646,507. Of this, $3.295,727 was interest income, and $4,923,348 was dividends ($1.5 million from the “Ann and Mitt Romney 1995 Trust” and $3 million from the “Ann D. Romney Blind Trust”).
• Romney filed two self-employment Schedule Cs. The first was for $113,881 as a member of the Marriott International’s Board of Directors. Not bad for a part time job.
• The second self-employment form filed was for author and speakers’ fees. Romney had income of $528,871 gross income for “author/speaking fees”. According to published press reports, $370,000 of this was for speaking fees, an amount Romney described as “inconsequential.”
• Romney paid a total tax of $3,009,76 on adjusted gross income of $21,646,507, an effective tax rate of 13.9%.
• Romney received a tax refund of $1.6 million.
Romney’s supporters make much of the fact that he gave $2.9 million to charity, an amount nearly equal to what he paid in taxes. They ignore the fact that much of Romney’s charity began at home. Of the $2.9 million, $1.458,807 was from the “Ann Romney Blind Trust” to the “Tyler Charitable Foundation”, a non-cash transfer of “donated securities”. What Romney did was take money out of one pocket, put in another pocket, take a $1.4 million deduction on his taxes, while maintaining legal control of the transferred assets.
Now, let us turn to the trusts through which Romney sheltered his wealth. Among his investments:
• Toyota and Mitsubishi. While American car companies were dying, Romney was putting his money into Japanese car makers. Noticeably absent from Romney’s tax returns were investments in American automakers. Romney used his capital to put foreigners to work making automobiles instead of Americans. This from a man who has promised to save the American auto industry.
• While saying America needs to develop green energy sources, Romney invested in foreign alternate energy providers such as the Dutch wind power company Vestas Wind Systems and the Austrian Verbund AS, which gets 90% of its power from hydro-electricity.
• Romney has invested in numerous foreign pharmaceuticals and medical suppliers: the Dutch CSL Limited, the Dutch pharmaceutical Novo-Dordisk; and Fresnius Medical Care, a German manufacturer of medical supplies.
• Among the foreign high-tech companies Romney bought and sold stock in were Turkcel Ietisim, a Turkish cell phone service provider and the British based Sky Broadcasting Group, a tele-communications provider.
• The Romneys have invested in numerous foreign banks: The Greek National Bank; the Brazilian banking groups Itau Unibanco and Intesta Sanpaolo; and several other large “emerging market” banking groups.
• Your average Republican may want to rename French fries “freedom fries” but Romney that didn’t stop Romney from investing in several French companies: LVMH Moet, which is a Paris based clothier; Schlumbegrer LTD, a French company that provides oil field services;
• Romney has said he would crack down on Chinese trading practices, which have cost so many Americans their jobs. His 2010 tax returns show he purchased and sold stock in several Chinese companies including the New Oriental Ed & Tech, a private Chinese school system (!), and the China Life Insurance Company, formerly a state owned enterprise insuring 45% of the Red Chinese public.
• One of the most sordid “charitable” donations was a $100,000 cash gift to the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Romney wants to celebrate the Presidency of a failure who left office with the country hemorrhaging 750,000 jobs a month, doubled the national debt, and left two wars to his successor to wage.
What does it say?
Most of Romney’s money was invested through Goldman Sachs, a company which received $10 billion in funds from the “Troubled Asset Relief Program” (TARP). The Federal “Primary Dealer Credit Facility” loaned Goldman Sachs $589 billion in 2009, when Goldman Sachs was purchasing Romney some of the same stocks he sold for a profit in 2010. It seems that Romney likely financially benefited from the federal bailout of Goldman Sachs.
What does the tax return say about Mitt Romney? He is a man who campaigns for the Presidency denouncing Chinese perfidy on trade while investing in Chinese companies; talks about developing green energy at home while investing in it abroad; promises to save America’s auto industry while investing in Japan’s; and boasts about his charitable donations, while neglecting to mention that much of it was to his own charitable foundation.