Mit Romney's Bain Tax Woes just keep getting bigger and bigger as analysts from all over the country weigh in on their suspect and perhaps illegal nature.
On Friday, in my diary Bain Tax Bombshell Bigger than Before, I tried to plow through all the documents and pull out things which might concern average voters when making a choice for President of the United States. I'm not repeating those easy ones. Read the other diary if you missed them.
My view then was, and my view today is that while some of the Romneys' deliberate Bain tax dodges might be legal under the tax code, they are immoral and unethical for someone who wishes to hold the highest office in the land.
I will again try to pull some of the money quotes as to why Mit and Ann don't want us to see their tax returns. And why Mit Romney is unsuited to be President of the United States.
CBS MoneyWatch stated on Saturday:
In a widely cited blog post Thursday, a University of Colorado law professor opined that "Bain's management fee conversions are not legal." Victor Fleischer wrote that "If challenged in court, Bain would lose."These facts about Romney-Bain and Romney Taxes need to go viral.
And the weather has given us an extra day to do so.
Much more after the Romney Squiggle-Speak marker below.
UPDATE 1 - 2:53 pm - these are just too good not to pass up...
from the Atlanta Journal Constitution (bolding mine)
Romney, Bain dancing at outer boundaries of tax law
In 2008, a study of the technique by Gregg Polsky, a tax-law professor at the University of North Carolina, concluded that it is “extremely aggressive and subject to serious challenge by the IRS…. The tax result, if this technique is successful, is the conversion of current ordinary income into deferred capital gains. ”UPDATE 2 - 3:47 pm - thanks to kulta1 in the comments below... I totally overlooked this important conflict:
What startles me most is that Mittens seems to take huge deductions based on active income not passive. That means he is claiming under IRS rules that he managed the companty and the investment. Someone tell me how that can be if a) he left control in 1999 as he claims and b) it is in a blind trust, for zpete's sake? Oh sorry I forget its both sides Mitt at it again. This part of the story is just breaking.UPDATE 3 - 3:52 pm - WOW. Rec List two days in a row.
I am honored. But that isn't important. The important part is that we keep Romney's duplicity and Squiggle-Speak out in the open. We need to keep blowing away all that Bermudan and Cayman Islands sand to expose his dealings. Thanks to all of you.
UPDATE 4 - 4:02 pm - A couple of forgotten Republican tidbits someone sent me from StatesmanJournal.com (bolding mine):
“There’s obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say ‘Have at it,’” Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist for President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, said during a July 15 broadcast of the ABC news show This Week With George Stephanopoulos.
Republican columnist George Will’s criticism of Romney’s recalcitrance was even more biting. “The costs of not releasing the returns are clear,” he said on the same show. “Therefore, (Romney) must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.” Higher costs, indeed.UPDATE 5 - 4:26 pm - People keep finding me great stuff...
Mitt Romney is hiding something -- something voters really need to know before they go to the polls in November.
Experts say Romney appears to have set up a retirement account in Bermuda with hedge fund-type investments that would otherwise be taxed in the U.S.UPDATE 6 - 5:52 pm - More on Mit's multiple IRS audits
"We don't have full knowledge of Gov. Romney's tax situation, so we can't say for sure," says James Hines, an international tax expert at the University of Michigan, "but yeah, it looks like ... you can call it tax avoidance. You can call it facilitating investments that otherwise wouldn't be ... profitable."
I posted a response in the comments linking to the interview where Mit admits the Romney tax returns have been audited multiple times. I pointed out that Mit very carefully never revealed whether he won or lost those audits. The video and transcript are here:
but I didn't read far enough because Business Insider asked the crucial question of the Romney campaign and got the same non-answer I got from the transcript:
How many times has Romney been audited by the IRS? In what years? And what did the audits find?Note that if Romney lost one or more audits and did not contest the IRS findings, what they are craftily saying would be technically correct.
We emailed these questions to the Romney campaign. Here's the response, from campaign spokesperson Ryan Williams:
“Mitt Romney has been scrupulous about observing the requirements of the tax code. Mitt Romney is in full compliance with U.S. law and he has paid 100 percent of what he has owed.”
If, in audit settlements and to avoid public records of tax court, the Romneys paid back taxes, penalties and interest, then he would have "paid 100 percent of what he has owed."
The only way to know the answer is to see the hidden tax returns.
UPDATE 7 - 7:18 pm - This carefully crafted non-statement should make it all crystal clear!
“Well, first of all, there was no reduction, not one dollar reduction in taxes by virtue of having an account in Switzerland or a Cayman Islands investment,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said in a ‘"Fox News Sunday" interview. “The dollars of taxes remained exactly the same. There was no tax savings at all.”Reduction of what? Dollars paid to which governments?
The website Gawker released more than 950 pages of Bain Capital records last Thursday.
The Bain Files: Inside Mitt Romney’s Tax-Dodging Cayman Schemes
Included are internal audits, financial statements, and private investor letters for what Gawker labeled as "21 cryptically named entities." They are now available for anyone to view.
CBS MoneyWatch stated on Saturday:
In a widely cited blog post Thursday, a University of Colorado law professor opined that "Bain's management fee conversions are not legal." Victor Fleischer wrote that "If challenged in court, Bain would lose."
from the same source above, Bain confirms the authenticity of the Gawker Files (bolding mine):
Reaction ranged from an angry Bain statement decrying the release of confidential documents to a yawn from a Fortune blogger who claimed this was old news to an accusation by a Colorado University law professor who argued that the documents revealed evidence of an illegal tax dodge.AtlanticWire reports on some of the major issues for Romney-Bain:
One potentially illegal thing for Bain: Fee conversion...The New York Times' Nicholas Confessore, Floyd Norris, and Julie Creswell report that the funds converted $1.05 billion in fees that would have been taxed at the higher rate. That saved $200 million in income taxes and $20 million in Medicare taxes.they continue:
A thing the IRS hates: Equity swaps. Equity swaps have been used to "avoid taxes that would otherwise be owed on dividends paid by American companies to foreign-based investors," The Times reports. A 2008 Senate committee report said the main purpose of these swaps is to allow foreigners to "dodge" American taxes on American stock dividends.and:
Blocker corporations. A Bain Capital Asia document from 2009 "refers to three 'blocker' corporations used to invest in D&M Holdings, a Japanese electronics company," the Times writes. These are set up in places like the Caymans to avoid the "unrelated business income tax."The Boston Globe reports (bolding mine):
The documents are not specific to Romney but they provide more evidence that large slices of his fortune have little to do with buying companies and turning them around, the experience he cites from his time as chief executive of Boston-based Bain.In reviewing details of the documents, Politics365 has called out Romney on the duplicity of the image he tries to project of himself and his campaign (bolding mine):
In many cases, his investments are in funds that hold complex securities and produce profits whether companies succeed or fail, and whether the economy thrives or not.
The leaked Bain documents show that the firm, which Romney co-founded, invested in a cigarette distributor and in casinos. These investments are not in congruence with the tenets of Romney’s faith or with the wholesome image his campaign has been attempting to project. The secrecy surrounding Bain and Romney’s finances may reveal that there are additional “unsavory investments” that conflict that with his faith’s teachings. It is as if Romney is saying, “No cigarettes or gambling for me and my Brethren, but if those enterprises earn money for me, it’s acceptable.”International Business Times noted:
And finally, Romney’s latest excuse for not releasing additional tax returns about wanting to keep his church donations private gives the impression that he’s hiding behind his faith. Romney’s father, George, who was a successful businessman in his own right and a devout Mormon was able to release 12 years worth of tax returns without drawing attention to his faith in a way that could bring more scrutiny.
Some of Romney's millions were birthed by exploiting several weaknesses in tax laws on overseas investments, as well as back-door methods of swapping assets behind the government's back.I could go on forever. Hundreds of news outlets are coming to the same conclusions.
I think it is best to end with NBCnews, who tried to put some humor into a sad commentary on the lack of transparency of both Romney and Ryan:
TheGrio.com’s Joy Reid and Democratic strategist Julian Epstein analyze why the Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan love to talk about not ducking tough questions yet never answer them.As you find other media outlets calling out the ducking, dodging, and Romney Squiggle-Speak, please feel free to post them in the comments.