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Mittens digging his 'offshore accounts' hole deeper. How can a person who's amassed so much wealth not know were is money is or where it's invested? According to the $250+ million dollar man he has no idea what's going on with his money and he wants it to stay that way.

http://www.cbsnews.com/...

"I understand and you understand, of course, that my investments have been held by a blind trust, have been managed by a trustee. I don't manage them - don't even know where they are," Romney said during an interview on Monday on Radio Iowa.
"I think what's important, is if you're running for president, the American people know who you are, what you've done - that you are an open book," he said. "That's been true of every presidential candidate dating back to Mr. Romney's father," the president said, referencing a common comparison: Mitt Romney to his father George, who ran for the Republican nomination in 1968 and released 12 years of tax returns.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doingbusinessas, slowbutsure

    Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

    by First Amendment on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:46:17 AM PDT

  •  Um, because that's the whole point of (3+ / 0-)

    a "blind trust"???

    How can a person who's amassed so much wealth not know were is money is or where it's invested? According to the $250+ million dollar man he has no idea what's going on with his money and he wants it to stay that way.
    That's exactly WHY somebody puts assets in a blind trust.  

    Definition of a blind trust:

    A blind trust is a trust in which the fiduciaries, namely the trustees or those who have been given power of attorney, have full discretion over the assets, and the trust beneficiaries have no knowledge of the holdings of the trust and no right to intervene in their handling. Blind trusts are generally used when a settlor (sometimes called a trustor or donor) wishes to keep the beneficiary unaware of the specific assets in the trust, such as to avoid conflict of interest between the beneficiary and the investments. Politicians or others in sensitive positions often place their personal assets (including investment income) into blind trusts, to avoid public scrutiny and accusations of conflicts of interest when they direct government funds to the private sector.
    That's the whole REASON why those running for office put assets in a blind trust -- so they don't know what actions they take in office will, or will not, affect those holdings.

    What would be problematic is if someone who put assets in a blind trust DID know what was happening and COULD direct what happened to those assets.

      •  I disagree with that 1994 statement (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster, enhydra lutris, VClib

        to the extent it implies that a blind trust is always a "ruse."  Yes, you can impose rules -- you can say it can't invest in tobacco companies, for example -- but that doesn't mean that you know what it IS investing in.  You only know what rules it is following.  If Romney's blind trust doesn't have a rule specifying "no overseas investments," then he's telling the truth now when he says he doesn't know whether he has overseas investments and what those are and how much is in them.  

        Blind trusts are very common.  The Clintons used them while Clinton was President.  Ted Kennedy used them (and, indeed, took the exact position Romney is taking know -- that the point of a blind trust is to keep you from managing your investments while you hold public office).

        If you want to criticize Romney for the political attack on Kennedy in 1994, fine.  I think it was complete political opportunism. If you want to criticize Romeny for flip flopping when politically expedient, fine.

        But  I think Kennedy was correct in 1994 to say that putting investments in a blind trust means you don't have specific knowledge of those investments (other than that they have to follow the rules/parameters that you set up).  And that means that Romney's statements now are as accurate as Kennedy's were then.  

        •  So Romney set-up the rules/parameters... (0+ / 0-)

          and didn't say "no off shore accounts in tax dodging havens" but fires a lawn care company for employing illegals because he was "running for office for pete's sake"?

          And given his attitude on blind trusts when running against Kennedy predates him setting up his own blind trust it shows he set-up a blind trust believing they're a ruse - and now he's trying to pull that same ruse on America now.  

          •  I have no idea what rules or parameters (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            he set up.

            The diarist asked this:  

            How can a person who's amassed so much wealth not know were is money is or where it's invested?
            The answer that is the POINT of a blind trust.  And that if he DOES know where the money is or how it is invested, THAT would be problematic.  
    •  Several questions about his "blind trust" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster

      First of all, how blind is it really?  Would a blind trust have invested in his son's company?  He is also still being granted interests in Bain entities--do those go into the supposed blind trust? How can he claim no knowledge of them?  Does he review his own tax return and FBAR filings?

      "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

      by Old Left Good Left on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:24:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The trust files its own return, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coffeetalk, VClib

        and the only thing on his return is "income from blind trust" or something.  So there's nothing on the income tax return that would indicate the nature of the investments. (and, from my experience w/ high net worth clients, they only look at page 2, anyways, and that only to look for the signature line)

        His only FBAR account was the Swiss account, and I'd think he'd have to sign off on that account, since the blind trust is also a DGT.

      •  The "how blind is it really" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        is a legitimate question.  Apparently, Romeny's blind trust has a lawyer as a trustee - I assume that the lawyer is ethical and is operating under basic accepted rules for a private blind trust.  If there's evidence the lawyer is not doing that, and that Romney is directing investments and being made aware of each investment decision when it is made, that would be problematic.  He has said that if he is elected, he will convert to a more stringent federal blind trust, I think.

        I assume the residuals from his time at Bain go into the blind trust, but I don't know that.

        As for tax returns, as I understand it (a tax person can correct me if I'm wrong) the Trust does its own return where the details of the investments matter.  The Trust sends a statement to the beneficiary of how much income goes to the beneficiary from the Trust, but not from each individual investment the Trust holds.  

        The senate website has a sample trust agreement presumably for use by public officials.   It says this about taxes:

        The income tax return of the Trust shall be prepared by the Trustee or his designee, and such return and any information relating thereto (other than the Trust income summarized in appropriate categories necessary to complete an interested party's tax return), shall not be disclosed to the public or to any interested party.   To effectuate the provisions of this Article FIFTH, the  Trustee shall use its best efforts to provide the interested party, promptly after the close of each taxable year of the Trust during the Trust Term, with that information concerning the Trust, including  information on income, expenses, capital gains and capital losses, which is necessary for the  interested party to prepare and file tax returns required by the laws of the United States and the laws of any State, district or political subdivision; provided however, that in no event shall the Trustee disclose publicly or to any interested party any information whatsoever which might identify the securities or other property which comprise the assets of the Trust or identify the securities or other property which have been sold from the assets of the Trust.
        •  He is not a public official (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          so why is he under any obligation to hew to any particular concept of how a supposed blind trust operates?

          "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

          by Old Left Good Left on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 11:28:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are certain legal requirements of (0+ / 0-)

            a blind trust, often governed by state law.  See, for example, here.

            State laws generally provide for a number of kinds of trusts -- people use them to provide for children, or as a way of estate planning, etc.    So, yes, the attorney who acts as a Trustee has a fiduciary duty to the trust -- that's both a legal and an ethical duty to act in the best interests of the Trust itself, which includes making sure that the Trust complies with the law.  

            It's the same as if I set up a trust for my children's college fund, or a trust to hold my assets if I die.  There are certain legal requirements that have to be met.  I presume this lawyer is complying with the laws of the state where the blind trust is set up.

            •  The regulation you cite (0+ / 0-)

              defines a "blind trust" for purposes of required disclosures of public officials in California.

              So it is, in fact, nothing like setting up a college fund or intergenerational trust.

              "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

              by Old Left Good Left on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 12:19:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That was not my point (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib

                my point was that there are various kinds of trusts, and state laws provide the requirements for each of them.

                There are general laws about trusts -- the Louisiana Trust Code is at La. R.S. 9:1721 et seq.  In that code are rules that apply to all trusts, plus specific rules as to different kinds of trusts. (There are over 600 separate provisions in Louisiana's trust code, for example -- it's a very complicated area of the law). State laws generally provide the duties and potential liabilities of the trustees of all trusts, including blind trusts.  

                •  Well duh. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tonedevil

                  The question is not whether there are state laws regarding trusts.  The question is whether there are state laws specifically regarding blind trusts, other than in the context of providing a mechanism for public officials to avoid (or appear to avoid) conflicts of interest.

                  "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

                  by Old Left Good Left on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 12:58:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  He initially set them up, then turned them over (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, MKSinSA

    to be a blind trust.  

    He has to pay taxes (i hope) on them if they increase in value (capital gains).  He may not know where they are, but knows how much is in them via his accountant who is doing his taxes.

    This is HORSEHOCKEY... he knows more than his is letting on...

    "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

    by doingbusinessas on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:58:14 AM PDT

  •  Do you really want a President who is so weak with (0+ / 0-)

    his own business that he doesn't know where his money is?  Romney is even dumber that he appears at first impresson.

    •  this kind of argument makes us look (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster, coffeetalk

      silly and uninformed or ignorant. People who use this type of argument in public are easy targets for others to say - "look these people don't even understand why politicians of both parties use and have used blind trusts for deecades, how can you listen to anything they say about anything at all?"

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:49:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You could argue the Romney looks ignorant on so (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enhydra lutris

        many issues that it's hard to see him as compentent in any area.  With the Right screaming "college transcripts" we need to demand Romney's college grades.  I doubt he has few grades above the mandatory "C" required to be gifted by professors to  most "heritage" students.

  •  This kind of stuff makes us look like (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk

    idiots, and everybody who repeats this stuff in public sets us all up to be attacked as so blisteringly unaware of the basics that we should not be listened to about anything.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:54:56 AM PDT

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