Friday, January 27, 2012

Romney’s ‘Blind Trust’ Was Not Very Blind

By Josh Israel/Think

ThinkProgress reported earlier this week that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) profited from thousands of Florida foreclosures through a Goldman Sachs investment fund.
When pressed on this by his rival, Newt Gingrich, in last night’s Republican debate, Romney disclaimed any responsibility for or knowledge of his own investments:
ROMNEY: First of all, my investments are not made by me. My investments for the last 10 years have been in a blind trust, managed by a trustee. Secondly, the investments they’ve made, we’ve learned about this as we made our financial disclosure, have been made in mutual funds and bonds
Watch it:
The term “blind trust” indicates that an investor has designated someone else to handle their investments and that the investor does not know what those investments are. In his 2006 Massachusetts state disclosure, Romney wrote that “under the terms of the blind trust, the Governor may have no knowledge of the specific holdings or management of the trust” except for very broad categories like “publicly traded stocks.”) Romney had called the use of such trusts a “ruse” in his 1994 senate campaign.
Last August, Romney filed his legally-required public financial disclosure report. As required, his signature appears on the form certifying that the infromation is “true, complete, and correct” to the best of his knowledge. From at least the time he completed that form, it ceased to be a “blind trust” as he knew what was in it.
But Romney’s comment suggests that the trust was “blind” for ten full years before that. It was not.
During his unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid, Romney disclosed the assets of his “blind trust” in his August 2007 filing. As a result, the trust ceased to be “blind” then, as well.
A ThinkProgress Economy analysis reveals that Romney’s 2011 “blind trust” disclosure identified 43 investments in 13 entities or financial services firms offering investments (CDs, mutual funds, bonds etc.). Of those, 33 were in entities or firms offering investments where he also had investments in his 2007 disclosure. And that 2007 form noted Romney had at least nine current or recently-sold investments with Goldman Sachs, worth millions of dollars.
While the particular funds varied (different mutual funds with Goldman, different bonds or CDs with the Federal Home Loan Banks, etc.), it strains credulity to for Romney suggest that he didn’t know his money was likely in Goldman Sachs between 2007 and 2011.
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