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How much Mitt paid in taxes is great political theater and certainly illustrates how different Mitt's life is from the average American.

But that is NOT the most important thing about whether or not Mitt releases more tax returns.

The most important thing is NATIONAL SECURITY.  And this NATIONAL SECURITY argument is how we should answer when Mitt evades the issue and tries to make it seem like its ONLY about how much he paid.

Its also about:
1) Who did Mitt do business with when making business/investment deals?
2) Are there world events that, blind trust or not, will cost Mitt money or make Mitt richer that will be influenced by his Presidency?
3) Are there places in the world where, due to Mitt's or Bain's dealings, Mitt Romney is unable to represent the interests of the United States?

We'll tackle these in extended...

Again, this is an issue of NATIONAL SECURITY.  We need to know if the President is compromised or has a conflict of interest -- just like any federal employee, you shouldn't be in charge of something that you will either profit from or have substantial business or personal investments.  Why?  Because no matter how strongly patriotic Mitt is, he is only human, and he will be in a position to both broadly and in subtle ways influence foreign policy and capital investments.  

1) Who did Mitt do business with when making business/investment deals?

We know that Mitt has a lot off offshore business interests.
Where are they, who knows what they are, and who is in a position to exploit this if Mitt becomes President not disclosing his more recent tax returns?

Likewise, the Romneys were reported to have invested at least $1 million in Elliott Associates, L.P., a hedge fund specializing in “distressed assets.” Elliott buys up cheap debt, often at cents on the dollar, from lenders to deeply troubled nations such as Congo-Brazzaville, then attacks the debtor states with lawsuits to squeeze maximum repayment. Elliott is run by the secretive hedge-fund billionaire and G.O.P. super-donor Paul Singer, whom Fortune recently dubbed Mitt Romney’s “Hedge Fund Kingmaker.” (Singer has given $1 million to Romney’s super-pac Restore Our Future.)
So Romney has invested, in offshore accounts and blind trusts, all sorts of money that has the ability to influence events in Africa, Iran, really all over the world.  

Gee, it would sure be embarrassing for a sitting President to be called out over a potential foreign policy issue that enriched him and his friends, or for which he was influenced for fear of disclosure.

One cannot properly understand Wall Street’s size and power without appreciating the central role of offshore tax havens. There is absolutely no evidence that Bain has done anything illegal, but private equity is one channel for this secrecy-shrouded foreign money to enter the United States, and a filing for Mitt Romney’s first $37 million Bain Capital Fund, of 1984, provides a rare window into this. One foreign investor, of $2 million, was the newspaper tycoon, tax evader, and fraudster Robert Maxwell, who fell from his yacht, and drowned, off of the Canary Islands in 1991 in strange circumstances, after looting his company’s pension fund. The Bain filing also names Eduardo Poma, a member of one of the “14 families” oligarchy that has controlled most of El Salvador’s wealth for decades; oddly, Poma is listed as sharing a Miami address with two anonymous companies that invested $1.5 million between them. The filings also show a Geneva-based trustee overseeing a trust that invested $2.5 million, a Bahamas corporation that put in $3 million, and three corporations in the tax haven of Panama, historically a favored destination for Latin-American dirty money—“one of the filthiest money-laundering sinks in the world,” as a U.S. Customs official once put it.
So, it appears Mitt both individually and through his Bain holdings, is involved at every level with all sorts of shady people, leaders, corporations, tax havens, etc.  And these people, who are likely up to no good at least some of the time, would have no leverage against the sitting President to look the other way or otherwise avoid justice for these individuals?  Even if Mitt does look the other way, how does he ensure his decision-making is totally above-board?  


2) Are there world events that, blind trust or not, will cost Mitt money or make Mitt richer that will be influenced by his Presidency?

Let's look where Mitt is invested:

Recently disclosed tax returns for three family trust funds for Romney, his wife, Ann, and their adult children show scores of trades in companies whose business operations are inconsistent with Republican Party stances that Romney favors on Iran, China, stem cell research, abortion and other issues.
I'll ignore the abortion/stem cell issues, because that's Mitt's problem to handle with his base (good luck).  The investments in China and especially in Iranian oil are troubling.

First, becauseits a LOT of money.

This year, Mitt promises to check Iran’s nuclear ambition – even though he pumped his money into the very economy that sustains it. Although Gazprom and Lukoil are oil companies headquartered in Russia, Mitt drew heat when he declared, in recent months, that “the Soviet Union is America’s biggest enemy.” Furthermore, while Romney yells that “Obama is not tough enough on China”, both CNOOC and Sinopec are Chinese state-owned corporations in which Mitt Romney heavily invested.
We all know how oil is priced - a crisis in the middle east makes oil prices spike.  At the very same time Mitt is getting the U.S. in a war with Iran, he would stand, blind trust or not, to make billions of dollars.

3) Are there places in the world where, due to Mitt's or Bain's dealings, Mitt Romney is unable to represent the interests of the United States?

Mitt's Iranian oil investment already raises eyebrows in Israel, as this diary illustrates.

Now, as Mitt Romney does his stiff PR Israeli tour, how will the people of Israel view Romney investing in a State, Iran, that aims to nuke Israel and spouts their desire to wipe Israel off the face of the earth?
And then there's Italy:
We already know that Mitt is not welcome in Italy.
That’s because Bain Capital, under Romney as chief executive officer, made about $1 billion in a leveraged buyout 12 years ago that remains controversial in Italy to this day. Bain was part of a group that bought a telephone-directory company from the Italian government and then sold it about two years later, at the peak of the technology bubble, for about 25 times what it paid.
Basically, Bain ripped of the near-broke Italian govt at a time of austerity and made a fortune. And its wasn't just Bain, it was Mitt himself who is blamed.
As Bain’s CEO from 1984 to 2001, Romney was personally involved in the deal at various points, including the initial decision to invest. He attended at least one meeting about it in Boston, according to a participant. When Bain sold the directory business in 2000, Romney, while still holding the title of CEO, was in charge of preparations for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Romney has contended that he gave up management control of Bain in February 1999 to run the games.

“Mitt Romney and Bain played the role of successful financial speculators at the peril of the Italian government and the small stock-market investors who were burned by the sharp decline in Seat (PG) shares,” said Giovanni Pons, a journalist for la Repubblica and co-author of “L’Affare Telecom” (2002), which recounts details of the Bain deal.

These are a couple of instances we know about.  The American people have a right to know what else Mitt has dabbled in, what other cookie jars he's had his fingers in, how many other governments or important officials he's either pissed off or believe he owes them something.  Because as President he'll be in a position to deliver payback - with OUR money and national reputation.

This isn't about how much Mitt paid in taxes, its about NATIONAL SECURITY.  The American people have a right to know what we're getting into and what baggage Mitt brings as President.  This should be our answer to EVERY story about Mitt's taxes.

1:38 PM PT: Thanks for the reccs.  

One point I did not make.  Mitt himself has scoffed at Blind Trusts
He's not dumb.  He remembers and has knowledge of exactly where his money is.  How could he not?  And even if its in a blind trust, he knows a war here or a crisis there would make him a lot of money or lose him money.  AND HE HAS SHOWN NO WILLINGNESS TO SACRIFICE A PENNY in order to get elected.  I don't know who should be more pissed - potential voters or Republicans who have to live with this guy as their nominee.  

The question this diary asks is:
1) Why is this not a HUGE issue and
2) Why don't we, when they say "prove it" or some such to Democrats, shoot back - "we're asking because we're concerned with NATIONAL SECURITY" - I would like some prominent Democrat to say that and see what the response is.

2:13 PM PT: An idea from the comments:
Mitt should be asked to sign a piece of paper agreeing to the most stringent federal blind trust standard.  He'll say "no" of course - another nice trap.


Are Mitt's taxes a primarily national security liability or a political (since he didn't pay enough taxes)liability?

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  •  Tip Jar (188+ / 0-)
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    fou, GussieFN, beltane, Mayfly, mikeVA, slowbutsure, Hey338Too, Man Oh Man, Louisiana 1976, pat of butter in a sea of grits, gigihopes, greenbird, aznavy, marleycat, uciguy30, I am a Patriot, Davui, KroneckerD, itskevin, millwood, banjolele, ThatSinger, hubcap, concernedamerican, SoCaliana, blackjackal, Smoh, Eddie L, a2nite, gramofsam1, kevinpdx, sebastianguy99, Quantumlogic, rogerdaddy, RJDixon74135, Gowrie Gal, blue aardvark, gloriana, Outsourcing Is Treason, nannyboz, theKgirls, MKinTN, Nicci August, DBunn, G2geek, NJpeach, sand805, yawnimawke, Catherine R, pioneer111, maybeeso in michigan, Crabby Abbey, elziax, entrelac, litoralis, jfromga, Trotskyrepublican, MartyM, mikeconwell, liberaldregs, stagemom, cadejo4, ctsteve, EagleOfFreedom, Mimikatz, AnnetteK, signals, little lion, MidwestTreeHugger, Clyde the Cat, eXtina, Getreal1246, gustynpip, Calouste, Huron, DamselleFly, UtahLibrul, greycat, howabout, erratic, semiot, Mr Raymond Luxury Yacht, Shelley99, zbob, Larsstephens, David54, Alice Venturi, sometv, CocoaLove, dharmafarmer, xanthippe2, rukidingme, EricS, RagingGurrl, scottiex2, thomask, AllDemsOnBoard, offred, hungrycoyote, Blue Bell Bookworm, batchick, BlueOak, sidnora, science nerd, fluffy, Hammerhand, Stripe, cyncynical, IreGyre, elwior, revbludge, vahana, Cronesense, LucyandByron, MKSinSA, kurious, Terminus, fumie, eve, Empower Ink, Thinking Fella, ItsSimpleSimon, Mark Wallace, jolux, mnguitar, lcrp, rioduran, Its a New Day, revsue, terabytes, third Party please, DebtorsPrison, brentbent, bmaples, indie17, gwilson, dfe, Zinman, Joieau, Kelly of PA, KayCeSF, leonard145b, Carol in San Antonio, jamess, HCKAD, WI Deadhead, Actbriniel, skyounkin, rage, benvautier, manneckdesign, doingbusinessas, kerflooey, elengul, dmhlt 66, OldGrammy, RubDMC, PeterHug, Andrew F Cockburn, DeminNewJ, kathny, brenda stewart, peggy, Chi, TX Freethinker, MJ via Chicago, bnasley, trueblueliberal, Late Again, sawgrass727, congenitalefty, world dancer, subtropolis, reflectionsv37, cacamp, chloris creator, rapala, TexDem, cotterperson, Tommy Aces, noodles and doodles, GustavMahler, WheninRome, Creosote, OjaiValleyCali, snazzzybird, political mutt, kaliope

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

    by jgkojak on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 12:44:57 PM PDT

  •  "Character" would be a good addition to poll. A (19+ / 0-)

    candidate who has no embarrassing foreign entanglements, and who pays all legal taxes owed, still might show bad character by the kinds of legal tax dodges he/she has supported or will support as a public servant.  

    I agree with you, though, it is very likely Mitt has some dubious investments which might influence his policy decisions, if he gets the opportunity to make any.

    "'s difficult to imagine what else Republicans can do to drive women away in 2012, unless they decide to bring back witch-hanging. And I wouldn't put it past them." James Wolcott

    by Mayfly on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 01:03:37 PM PDT

  •  A non-issue if Romney is elected. (4+ / 0-)

    Federal office holders, after they are elected, use a Federal Blind Trust, which is stricter than most blind trusts, and overseen by the Office of Government Ethics.   That's exactly why the Federal Blind Trust was created.  As that last link indicates, there's no question that Romney will do that if elected, before he's sworn in.  The president said he should do it now, before elected, but Romney has not done so (If I'm not mistaken, I think most people do it between election and taking office).

    •  Non-issue? (17+ / 0-)

      There are still scores of people who Romney knows whose investments would be touched by his decisions as leader of this country, including his sons, family members, and former colleagues. Plus, how he's invested in the past could play a big role in how Mitt is viewed by other countries, which is a big point the diarist makes.

      •  Then that's the case with every President (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        they all have a past, and they all -- even President Obama -- made investments before taking office. (When he took office, he liquidated the investments in stock rather than using the Federal Blind Trust that most elected officials have used.) And they all have friends and relatives who have investments.  We have never held a President accountable for that fact.  

        Remember, if you want to assume that a relative's investments influence a President's decision making, John Kerry didn't even release any tax information for his wife, who is the person in that marriage with far more wealth.  

        If you want to make the arguments you are making, that's fine as a political issue.  But it's not a "National Security" issue as the diary says.  And if elected, Romney would be in exactly the same position as almost everybody else who has run for, or been elected, President -- he has had investments before elected, and he has friends, relatives, and colleagues with investments. We've never demanded disclosure of the investments of friends, relatives, and colleagues to see if their holdings would affect the President's decisions.  

        •  I don't know... (9+ / 0-)

          I think it's different when you have a guy who was running the show on investments at a multi-billion dollar hedge fund. Sure, that was a while back, but that's what he is, it's how he defines himself. It probably defines how he thinks through and sees things. And I don't believe for a minute that he's been passive on his investments over the past decade, whether or not he claims they were in a "blind" trust. Even he has said that those are essentially ruses.

          •  Whether he was passive in the past or not (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            There are regular "blind trusts" and then there is the Federal Blind Trust.  The Federal Blind Trust is much stricter than other kinds of blind trusts, and would assure that the trust really is "blind."  It has to have essentially regulatory approval.  Members of Congress use this as well.

            That's why I said it becomes essentially a non-issue if he's elected.  Almost alll Presidents have investments before they are elected.  Romney put his in a "blind trust" (though not a federally regulated  one, which is use by federal officials) when he became governor, I think.  Whether you think that trust wasn't really "blind" or not, that kind of speculation pretty much ends when it goes into a Federal Blind Trust. Everybody - even President Obama (see my link) recognizes that a Federal Blind Trust puts that kind of issue to rest.  He can't make Presidential decisions based on helping his investments because he doesn't know what his investments are while he's President (if that happens).

            Whether you think he'd favor certain interests because they benefited him BEFORE he was elected, well, that's an accusation that is leveled at almost every candidate of either party.  They all have a past.  And they all are accused, at one point or another, of favoring the "special   interests (usually business for Republicans, Labor for Democrats) that helped them get where they are.  But, most importantly, that's a POLITICAL issue, not a legal, ethics, or -- as the diary says -- national security issue.

            •  Its about the number of these (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ctsteve, elwior, drmah, Hillbilly Dem

              And about the fact that he has pissed off a lot of people all over the world who could disclose/blackmail him if this stuff is not already out there.

              And, unless the REALLY mess w/his stuff (I'd assume it would mostly be frozen) - he'll know what's what -he's not stupid.

              The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

              by jgkojak on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 02:21:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That assumes he's done something significantly (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                bad to be blackmailed over, of course.  Saying -- after he's elected -- "I'll tell everybody your trustee invested your assets in this fund!" is not really blackmail material.  

                •  "I tell everybody that you got caught (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elwior, Nate Roberts, cdkipp

                  with your hand in Uncle Sam's cookie jar with those offshore accounts and had to go for amnesty"

                  That might trouble a sitting President ...

                  •  Assuming he did that, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    (which we don't know) it would be embarrassing but not illegal.  Not something that would hurt him after he's elected.  So, I'm not sure that "you took an embarrassing but legal position on your returns" is blackmail material after he's elected.

                    And that also assumes that whoever prepared his returns leaked them to somebody who wants to harm him.

                    •  Amnesty is typically an official pardon (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      elwior, Nate Roberts

                      of a criminal offense to avoid criminal prosecution. I have not read the IRS definition beyond the promise that they will not criminally prosecute if the taxpayer comes forward. So to make that promise, it was probably criminally illegal tax evasion to get amnesty.

                      Setting up a foreign bank account to hide money from the IRS is a pretty darn deliberate act for example.

                      If the House is Dem controlled, I've got to wonder if they would impeach him for being a tax cheat ("conduct unbecoming" a President) and not disclosing it.

                      Let's remember the sort of business Romney was in. Bain grew like a weed. It's very, very likely banks helped them with leveraging to grow like that - even though they got investment because there would be timing issues on getting the dough together or maybe they needed cash flow for the business they were buying.

                      If you want to borrow $50 mil for financing some big deal, the banks like to see tax returns and a bunch of the Bain employees, including Romney, by corporate agreement were personal investors in these deals. That Bermuda company apparently was a funnel for Romney's dough internationally. So periodically, banks may well want to see some personal tax returns before they fork over the dough to protect themselves from the IRS pouncing and mucking it up.

                      Someone may have snatched some copies of those Romney tax returns then. Or maybe a Bain exec Romney ticked off got copies. Or maybe an old accountant kept copies. Or maybe an IRS employee/auditor saw them and kept a copy. Who knows?

                      Something along those lines could be a problem for him and expose him to blackmail. And we're right back to where we were: the only way to be sure is to disclose the tax returns. The fact that he made a statement today and his wife responded last night suggests they're still feeling the heat.

                      •  not a tax amnesty program (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        I have clients who have done it with state taxes.  It is typically done when there is a gray area and it is not certain whether the taxpayer has taken a correct tax position or not.   The taxing authority offers the taxpayers an incentive to drop the iffy tax position and take a less agressive position.  That is tax amnesty.  It does not involve criminal law at all.

                        •  Q3. Why should I make a voluntary disclosure? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:


                          3. Taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts or entities should make a voluntary disclosure because it enables them to become compliant, avoid substantial civil penalties and generally eliminate the risk of criminal prosecution.  Making a voluntary disclosure also provides the opportunity to calculate, with a reasonable degree of certainty, the total cost of resolving all offshore tax issues.  Taxpayers who do not submit a voluntary disclosure run the risk of detection by the IRS and the imposition of substantial penalties, including the fraud penalty and foreign information return penalties, and an increased risk of criminal prosecution.
                          In 2008, this seemed to get folks anxious

                          When one buys and sells companies, a key part for someone like that is tax avoidance when the sale happens as I think you know. In a business like Bain, who thrived of buying and selling corporate assets, you can bet they were up to snuff on the tax code and how to minimize their taxes for the company and their investors - which included Romney and their employees individually investing in these transactions.

                          Romney knew or should have known the consequences for not reporting a Swiss bank account.  Therefore, if he had to request amnesty, he very likely was avoiding getting nailed for criminal tax evasion. Because if they started to investigate him before he requested amnesty, immunity from criminal prosecution is off the table, as I also suspect you know.

                          If the Dems controlled the House, they'd have a respectable case for impeachment for "conduct unbecoming" a President because that's pretty blatant tax avoidance for a man in Romney's position.

            •  FUCK "if he's elected"are you hijacking this thred (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              this will stop him from being elected if enough kossacks work at it.

              America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

              by cacamp on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:36:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  itskevin - Bain Capital started as a venture (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            itskevin, little lion, elwior

            capital fund and transitioned to private equity. It has never been a hedge fund, which is a very different investment vehicle with a completely different investment philosophy.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 02:16:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Its the NUMBER of investments (6+ / 0-)

          So let's say Biden owns some stock, Obama owns some land, etc.

          Fine.  That's definable and we KNOW about it because he discloses his taxes.

          Mitt has THOUSANDS of investments worth MUCH more than any politician ever to become President, even compared to Kennedy and FDR.

          The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

          by jgkojak on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 01:44:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  True. and that's a political issue now. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But if he's elected, all of those investments, to the extent he still holds them, go into a Federal Blind Trust, and pretty much everybody -- even the president, see my link above -- considers a Federal Blind Trust to be pretty solidly "blind."  So, it can't be a "national security" issue.  

            If you are talking about whether, as President, he would be influenced by interests that benefited him BEFORE he was elected, that's a political issue that comes into play with virtually every President. They all are accused, at one time or another, of being beholden to some "special interest" that helped them get where they are.  

          •  In the Chronicles of Narnia the concern was for (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, Nate Roberts

            who was beholden, or "hidden to provide service to the Queen of the North."  I think most Americans want to know who Mitt is "beholden" to.

        •  We've never had a presidential candidate with (19+ / 0-)

          a public history of lying about his tax filings, as Romney did in MA in 2002.

          Stop this false assertion that Mitt Romney is like every other prior candidate.  He's not.  

          None of the prior candidates were ON RECORD when they were running, LYING to the public about where they filed while having ALREADY filed amended returns to change the state residence and pay taxes that were due and had previously been UNPAID.

          •  If course every candidate is different (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and if you want to make the case that Romney's particular past means he should release more years than the last Republican nominee did, that's fine.  That's a political issue. It's not a "national security" issue.  It's only when he becomes President that there's "national security" concerns.  And when he's President (if that happens), the Federal Blind Trust will mean no national security issues. You can still raise all the POLITICAL issues, based on his past, that you want.  But his current holdings -- if and when he's elected -- won't be a national security issue because of the Federal Blind Trust.  

            •  Ah no. What he's done in the past could (4+ / 0-)

              be used to blackmail him in the future.  Isn't that LGBT people were not allowed in certain posts in the government - fear they'd be blackmailed into doing things against our interests?  

              Full disclosure to avoid blackmail!

              s - kind of, sort of.

              "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

              by gustynpip on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 02:41:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Romney couldn't get a job as a CIA janitor (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cdkipp, congenitalefty, elwior

              unless he revealed his tax returns. As Sen. Reid and many military people have said, aspiring to high office like a cabinet position or the Army requires a security clearance.

              Romney wants the highest office of all, without any vetting by the American people, despite having had financial relationships of a dubious nature in many international locations. He is unqualified to mop floors at the State Department due to these entanglements.

              Conservation is green energy

              by peggy on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 08:24:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  maybe Obama (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          little lion, bluezen, gustynpip, semiot, elwior

          wanted out of stocks given the timing of when he was elected.  I know more than one person who moved to all cash or near all cash in late 2007 through 2008.

          And you're wrong about the calculus on investments, rarely have we had such a rich president in modern times, rarely have we had a president so deeply tied to foreign investements and entities,  who prides himself in enabling foreign entities to use tax havens to invest in the US without the taxes.  Rmoney is on a whole different scale than Obama.  Significantly more invested in certain interests than even the Bushes and oil and almost as much as Cheney was in Haliburton.

          And we got more information from those people.

          And I can't speak for everybody, but one reason I wasn't a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton was some of the moves Bill Clinton made after he left office, he made a lot of money really fast helping out many foreign interests, some of which was lobbying for entities that were the subject of legilation that Hillary Clinton as senator would be voting on.  In one particular case,  he was actually taking the opposite position of a bill she sponsored.

          •  So wouldn't the FACT (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            That he took the opposite position prove they weren't influencing each other? One thing I don't know, CAN/SHOULD Senators recuse themselves if they have a conflict of interest, like Judges are supposed to do?

            Oh, look.....I get a tagline. I better not waste it. I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

            by sd4david on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 03:09:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I believe (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              it was the Senator who abandoned first.  The point is that having continuing conflicts for which the elected official gets squeezed out of doing what they were elected to do, or that create the appearance of impropriety, under cut their effectiveness to act in their office.  Why look for trouble from the get go?  I want a person who represents constituents who happen to be voters and citizens that elect them, have to live with the decisions the elected official makes, etc.   We have enough elected officials who represent interests inimical to the people of this country already.  We don't need any more.

              •  Like I said (0+ / 0-)

                Can they recuse themselves?

                Seriously, if you dig deep enough everyone will have conflicts.

                Also no mention in the diary of either Clinton changing/abandoning their position.

                Oh, look.....I get a tagline. I better not waste it. I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

                by sd4david on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 06:08:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  this should be spread far and wide (6+ / 0-)
        This year, Mitt promises to check Iran’s nuclear ambition – even though he pumped his money into the very economy that sustains it
        Charts of Rmoney's investments in Iranian Oil companies....

        "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

        by MartyM on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 02:39:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A potential for blackmail remains - from anyone (17+ / 0-)

      in a position to know what's in the tax returns or what's missing from the tax returns.

      Those liabilities don't go away after taking the oath of office.

      •  Completely agree - if a foreign entity knows (9+ / 0-)

        something about Romney that could be extremely damaging, it could blackmail him into altering policy in ways that could harm US interests or directing enormous amounts of money towards them.

        Romney's skeletons are highly relevant to national security, as are any person seeking the Presidency or Vice-Presidency.

        There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why...
        I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? ~ Robert Kennedy

        by Reality Bites Back on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 01:34:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Extortion and people with clearances: (7+ / 0-)

        People who apply to work for certain 3-letter agencies, where they will have high-level clearances (TS with SCI), are required to disclose to their families & friends any details of their personal lives that might otherwise be usable by foreign agents as tools of extortion.

        Mitt playing hide-and-seek with his taxes would be a classic case of the kind of thing that has to be disclosed.  But when the person is a candidate for President, the disclosure needs to be public, since there is no higher authority for whom he is working.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 01:59:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You Betcha! (8+ / 0-)

          I've just started my clearance periodic review. The gubmint wants to know about ANY foreign touch points, like:

          Your relatives
          Places you've visited
          Dual citizenships

          and, in spades,


          Someone has got to bring this to the fore, like Rachel or Tweety or Lawrence or Ed.

          Hell, given the "balls" recently shown by people like Todd and Soledad, maybe even one of them can bring it on.

          •  here's an angle on the story: (5+ / 0-)

            This might get Rachel's interest:

            In the early 60s, NSA had a serious breach due to two gay employees being subjected to extortion by the Soviet Union.

            After a few years of internal policy review, what they came up with was this:  If you're gay, you have to disclose it to your family & friends.   In other words, "don't discriminate, do tell."

            NSA was about 40 years ahead of the rest of the military & intel community on the subject of gay employees.  They had to be, because the kind of brains they need are sufficiently rare that who someone sleeps with is trivial compared to whether they can do the advanced math needed for e.g. cryptanalysis.


            Interesting that "any foreign investments" is on the list.  One of my extended family members had to deal with not being able to travel outside the US for a fairly long period of time.  

            Anyway, looks like The Mitt gets in, he will either have to disclose to someone in classification review, or will have to change the rules by presidential order.  

            We need to make an issue of this.  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 03:41:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  like being a closeted homosexual (4+ / 0-)

          Being openly gay is not a security risk, but being a closeted homosexual is. Any time someone has something to hide---something they are personally embarrassed about, even if there is nothing wrong with it---it can be used against them.

          That is the real issue with blackmail.

          Maybe the only "big secret" in Romney's tax returns is that he didn't really pay his full tithe to the Mormons. Maybe it is that he donated to planned parenthood. Probably it is neither of these things, but the point remains.

          The President of the United States is the most important job there is. The American people have a right to know what the man is hiding. If he is not being forthcoming, that in itself is a problem.

    •  Yes yes yes (6+ / 0-)

      From your first source:

      Initially, it should be noted that there is no federal statute which expressly requires that particular federal officials place assets into a “blind trust” upon entering public service with the Federal Government. Rather, the use of a “blind trust” is one of several methods of conflict of
      interest avoidance under federal law and regulation.
      He might be saying that he will put his money into a blind trust, but he has proven to be exceedingly untrustworthy in all things financial. I would not trust him to keep this word here.

      Don't forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor. - John Dickinson ("1776")

      by banjolele on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 01:27:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I just read your link about Federal blind trusts (5+ / 0-)

      It mentions that there is no statute requiring an office holder to place his assets in it.  It mentions that officials do place their assets in it because the trust becomes a safeguard against conflict of interest charges.  However, why shouldn't we believe that Romney as President would decide to not use this trust and brazen it out against Democrat and MSM smears.". That seems to be his operating procedure regarding taxes.

      Why should we trust anyone who "lies for the Lord"?

      by Blue Bell Bookworm on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 03:52:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  actually don't think strict enough for Presidents (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      perhaps the only securities a President of the US should hold is US Government bonds

      now, since Romney would be subject to at least Capitol gains taxes in making a conversion from current holdings to government bonds, he might object.

      But heck, if he converted 200 million after taxes and was getting 2%, he'd still have a totally tax free income of 4 million a year on top of his presidential salary.  If that is not enough he has another choice - stay in the private sector.

      He should NOT be in a position to personally profit from the actions he takes as President of the United States.

      And the hell with blind trusts -  ALL HOLDINGS of Presidents of the United States and Members of the House and Senate should be publicly on record so people know why they are voting the way they are.  For anyone who thinks that is too much of a burden, fuck them - their job is supposed to be to serve the people of the United States and those people have a right to know what is actually motivating their actions.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:47:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting way of looking at it (36+ / 0-)

    It does seem clear that even though he has had political ambitions for quite some time, he nevertheless couldn't bring himself to adjust his financial situation in a way that would make him comfortable releasing his taxes. He could have seen this issue coming down the pike six years ago but if it meant leaving a dollar on the table he wouldn't do it. What does that say? It says he's a guy who is very strongly influenced by his own personal financial circumstances. Even though he is rich far beyond the wildest dreams of almost anybody in the United States or indeed the world, he still can't stand to make any adjustments that might improve his political chances. if it means he could have squeezed a dime out of some investment somewhere. So it may indeed be something that is motivating him in the White House.

  •  But but but... (4+ / 0-)

    He'll put his hand on a BIBLE!1  And SWEAR and OATH!2

    1. Gold Plates may be substituted at actual time of ceremony.  
    2. Oath may be sworn to America, Grover Norquist or some yet to be disclosed corporate entity.  

  •  Send this to Because you (9+ / 0-)

    are right on with this.

    Send it to Harry Reid and the Obama campaign too.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 01:18:58 PM PDT

  •  Excellent framing - and the Italian (6+ / 0-)

    example is a great one.

  •  Both options are important (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nicci August, elwior

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 01:24:17 PM PDT

  •  yes, it's a national security issue. (8+ / 0-)

    other candidates may have financial skeletons in the closet, but  Mitt may potentially have large foreign entanglements, eh?

    Of course, Cheney probably epitomized this. But then again, we know he was a national security hazard to the U.S.

    it's the nut in the nutshell

    by themank on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 01:47:26 PM PDT

  •  Like an Amish Barn (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgkojak, elwior

    That was well framed.

  •  not only is he paying minimal taxes, he wants (6+ / 0-)

    us to pony up for the rest of the GDP that his taxes don't cover but he enjoys. As he only pays 13% and the GDP is 20+%, he's making us pay the other 7% of taxes that HE should be paying. He gets to enjoy the same highways we do, the same air space we fly in, the same police & fire department that protects his homes as well as ours. But he doesn't want to pay for that? He wants us to pay for that. He refuses to pay his fair share of the requirement to keep the government working (the wars, medicare part d, bush tax cuts, etc.) but then expects us to cover his end. That's like going out to dinner with the guy who orders lobster and we order the chicken and then we all split the check evenly. Someone is making out on the deal and it isn't us....

    Earth: Mostly harmless ~ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (revised entry)

    by yawnimawke on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 02:11:39 PM PDT

  •  In terms of security (7+ / 0-)

    Mitt operates in exactly the same netherworld of finance used by money launderers and terrorist groups. There are umpteen accounts of Bain Capital's dealings in Singapore, currently the world's most secret banking destination. Hell, it's got an office in Hong Kong:

    Critics, including Mr. Murphy, point to Singapore’s Swiss-style secrecy provisions; lack of taxes on capital gains and most foreign dividends; and system that allows depositors to open accounts in the guise of corporations, trusts and limited liability companies.

    While Hong Kong does not have formal bank secrecy laws, it allows the formation of opaque companies that often serve as conduits for tax evasion. It also does not tax capital gains or deposit interest, and for corporations, it taxes only income produced in Hong Kong. “Both are serious players,” Mr. Murphy said. “Both offer serious opacity.”

    Mitt knows all about how and where to hide money and he will definitely not be making it easier for the U.S. government to crack down on off-shore tax evasion by him and his buddies.

    "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

    by cadejo4 on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 02:22:06 PM PDT

  •  And this (7+ / 0-)

    Romney’s Death Squad Ties: Bain Launched with Millions from Oligarchs Behind Salvadoran Atrocities

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is facing new scrutiny over revelations he founded the private equity firm Bain Capital with investments from Central American elites linked to death squads in El Salvador. After initially struggling to find investors, Romney traveled to Miami in 1983 to win pledges of $9 million, 40 percent of Bain’s start-up money. Some investors had extensive ties to the death squads responsible for the vast majority of the tens of thousands of deaths in El Salvador during the 1980s. We’re joined by Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grim, who connects the dots in his latest story, "Mitt Romney Started Bain Capital With Money From Families Tied To Death Squads." "There’s no possible way that anybody in 1984 could check out these families — which was the term that [Romney’s campaign] used — and come away convinced that this money was clean," Grim says. [Includes rush transcript]
  •  My addition: if he didn't pay his fair share, or (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sd4david, elwior, a2nite, trueblueliberal

    if he evaded taxes, then he has no credibility as commander in chief.
    He isn't paying to support the soldiers, or the veterans, he's not paying for Bush's disaster in Iraq.

    Yet he wants to hand over control of America's military to Bibi Netanyahu?
    He wants to go to war with Iran?
    No way, Mitt-say.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 03:02:24 PM PDT

  •  It IS national Security (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, trueblueliberal

    If Mitt cheats OR radically minimizes HIS taxes, then we can't fund the military. Tax cheats/ tax AVOIDERS are anti-Military!

    Oh, look.....I get a tagline. I better not waste it. I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

    by sd4david on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 03:06:33 PM PDT

  •  Well put thank you very much eom. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "like a roofer or a dancer or a cheese cutter or a lumber jack" " rubyr Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 12:24:28 AM PDT

    by sometv on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 03:11:38 PM PDT

  •  Could Romney be blackmailed? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    For decades federal government employees in sensitive positions were subject to strict security checks to ensure they could not be blackmailed.  So FBI agents would come around and check with neighbors to see if you were gay (which was blackmailable in its day; now that gay relationships are more acceptable to the world at large they no longer engender the furtiveness that gave rise to the fear of blackmail in the first place), or an alcoholic, or a drug user or had money problems, or had tax problems, etc.  Without knowing Romney's financial situation we do not know if he is blackmailable or would be tempted to use the engines of the government to protect himself.   Without transparency we would be vulnerable to having a security risk at the top fo our government.

  •  I agree and always have (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, chloris creator

    with the true take of this.  I have been surprised that the media has not done its job to report this.  Can you imagine if Bibi got a copy of the tax returns and threatened to expose a sitting president?  How about that other little angry man in Iran?   Or the old gambler, Sheldon,  China would be interested as would any other coutry's leader to get an advantage.  You sir, are correct and thanks for your work.

  •  I figured he wants to be POTUS... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, elwior

    ...for purposes of raiding the US Treasury in ways that would further enrich him and his buddies. Not raiding the Treasury in an overt way, mind you...just greasing the wheels and diverting funds to his own personal interests. You know, similar to how Halliburton lived high on the hog the entire Bush Administration.
    But I'm a cynic, so that thought is no great leap for me. :)

    "Never, never, NEVER give up!" --Winston Churchill

    by rioduran on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 04:48:27 PM PDT

  •  What about blackmail? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If someone out there knows about Mitts off-shore accounts, they could use that as political blackmail against him. If he's commander-in-chief, that's a serious problem.

    I realize the same could be said for any bit of info on a potential candidate, but tax returns are a special case becauase:
    - They tell so much about a candidate's background, values & interests
    - Every other candidate in recent history has released their returns for ~10+ years.

    Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

    by walk2live on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 05:04:06 PM PDT

  •  How blind is a federal blind trust? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, LeftOfYou

    Here is a link to a sample federal blind trust.

    The primary purpose of this Trust is to entrust to the Trustee decisions as to when and to what extent the original assets of the Trust are to be sold or disposed of and in what investments the proceeds of sale are to be reinvested, without any participation in, or knowledge of, such decisions by any interested person.
    The grantor delivers to the trustee all property listed on Schedule A. The trustee can not disclose any information to the public.
    FOURTH: The Trustee shall not knowingly or negligently disclose to the public or to any interested party any information as to the acquisition, retention, or disposition of any particular securities or other Trust property; except that, the Trustee shall promptly notify the Grantor, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics, and the Secretary of the Senate, Office of Public Records when the holdings of a particular asset transferred to the Trust by any interested party have been completely disposed of or when the value of that asset becomes less than $1,000.
    FIFTH: 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.
    If Romney was elected and established a federal blind trust, he would be "blind" as to how the transferred assets were being handled, but he would still know what was put into the trust. The public will be totally blind.
  •  What's got me wondering is this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trueblueliberal, elwior

    Doesn't the POTUS have access to all kinds of super-duper secret information?  Granted, a lot of things in government are handled by agencies and advisors and cabinet people and so on, but aren't a lot of the decisions based on info that, if it got out, could be extremely bad?

    We know Mitt worships money, and himself (perhaps not in that order).  I'm not entirely sure I would put it past him to sell state secrets if he thought he could get away with it.  

    Or maybe I've just watched too much West Wing (climbs out of deep end).

  •  Can you imagine applying for a security clearance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And saying, sorry you people don't need to see them? And nobody has a higher clearance then POTUS.
    Can you imagine china saying, we know of one of your investments can get you impeached, so.....

  •  Would tax returns shed more light (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on potential conflicts of interest than his financial disclosure forms?

    I've skimmed his gargantuan 2010 tax return (pdf), and it doesn't seem like it sheds a lot of info on where his money is invested, just on the transactions that had tax impact in a given year.  Presumably the other years of returns would be similarly vague about the status of investments.

    Accepting the premise that Romney's investments create a potential conflict of interest...wouldn't the financial disclosure forms show it?  Isn't that what the disclosure forms are meant to do?

    Recommended by:

    PUSH IT!



    by theChild on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 07:00:35 PM PDT

  •  Secrecy is key point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Which is related to national security, but I think secrecy is a more compelling argument for those who think of aircraft carriers and troops when they hear 'national security'.

    Romney wants to keep secrets from the American people: how he earned his money and what he has done with this money.

    At the same time, how he earned his money and what he has done with his money is supposed to be one of the key selling points Romney wants to use for being president.

    We cannot have the leader of the free world with financial and business secrets.

    This also shows how Romney would run the country - more secrets. Setec Astronomy anyone?

  •  WOOT! this is great, it needs more eyes!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is the perfect comeback and one no one has explored to my knowledge. If only Harry Reid would take up this meme and kossacks can make theat happen. Plus it's perfect timing since the GOPers called out Reid today.

    Kossacks need to go to work with this and make it become a national question. Tip and recc it, post it one Facebook, send it to editiors, send it to liberal pundits like Ed Shultz and Tweety.

    I sincerely believe this could shake up the election and force Rmoney to produce his returns. What a great ad it would make and Rmoney could have no answer to it.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:33:19 PM PDT

  •  I brought his Iran investment up in another (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    comment to no avail a while back. Just a quick comment.

    Thank you for doing such a wonderful job of putting this in the perspective it so desperately needs.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:01:25 PM PDT

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