It bothered me when I first learned that Mitt Romney was a venture capitalist.
Didn’t venture capitalists get the world into an enconomic mess a few years ago, pouring money into bad home loans until the world's economy faltered?
Generally they did, but it’s a generalization, I thought, to blame all venture capitalists. Ater all, progress is rooted in those who venture forth to invest in companies that create new products.
So I put my initial reservations about Romney’s career path on hold.
Since then, more information has come forward about Romney, and it’s more disturbing.
In a recent issue of Vanity Fair, a fashion magazine also known for investigative reporting, writer Nicholas Shaxson says that 55 pages of Romney’s 2010 incomed tax return are devoted to reporting transactions with foreign entities.
As Romney critics on both sides of the aisle are noting, many of Bain’s funds are set in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, where a confidentiality law states that you can be jailed for up to four years just for asking for information about such funds.
Nevertheless, a filing for Romney’s first $37 million Bain Capital Fund of 1984 provides a rare window into the power and ethics of the extremely wealthy, Shaxson says.
One foreign investor in Bain was a newspaper tycoon by the name of Robert Maxwell, who put in $2 million. Shaxson says Maxwell was also a tax evader and fraudster, who drowned from his yacht off of the Canary Islands in 1991 in strange circumstances after looting his company’s pension fund.
Google Robert Maxwell, it's interesting reading.
The Bain Fund 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 in Bain Capital. 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, Shaxson reports.
Mitt Romney has only released his 2010 tax return. He said he will release his 2011 taxes as soon as they are finished. He filed for an extension. Who knows why he won't release more? It might well be that he is believes the disclosures will torpedo his campaign. That is speculative, but the facts are that he won't do what his father George Romney did when he ran for president -- George released 12 years of returns.
Nor will Mitt do what his opponent President Barak Obama has done, releasing 10 years of returns. You can easily find them on the Internet.
Already, Romney does not look like a man we can count on to oversee those who play fast and loose with the intent of financial regulations -- the venture capitalists who got us into this mess.
That bothers me.