Friday, February 3, 2012

Romney’s Wife Had $3 Million in Secret Swiss Bank Account Through 2010; Not Reported in Federal Disclosure Forms

Remember how peculiar it was that presidential candidate Mitt Romney refused to release histax returns? That was predictably a non-starter. Most voters probably assume the reason he resisted was to avoid the controversy over his strikingly low tax rate.
Another factor appears to have played into this decision. The release of the tax returns shows Romney neglected to disclose some required financial information in his personal disclosure form filed with the Office of Government Ethics last year. His team apparently timed the release of his tax records with the hope that State of the Union hooplah would dominate news coverage and result in his finances getting less attention than they might otherwise. And that appears to been correct. His failure to divulge information about 23 investments, and more important his use of secret Swiss bank accounts, has been given a free pass. As Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington director Melanie Sloan observed, “Mr. Romney says the errors are minor, but then again he also claims earning $374,000 in speaking fees isn’t much money.”
This anodyne coverage in a Los Angeles Times article from last week is typical:
Some investments listed in Mitt and Ann Romney’s 2010 tax returns — including a now-closed Swiss bank account and other funds located overseas — were not explicitly disclosed in the personal financial statement the Republican presidential hopeful filed in August as part of his White House bid.
The Romney campaign described the discrepancies as “trivial” but acknowledged Thursday that it was reviewing how the investments were reported and would make “some minor technical amendments” to Romney’s financial disclosure that would not alter the overall picture….
The campaign has emphasized that Romney has paid all required U.S. taxes on his foreign funds….
Among the assets omitted is a Swiss bank account in Ann Romney’s blind trust that held $3 million until it closed in 2010. The account was listed on a financial disclosure Romney filed in 2007, but it was mistakenly named as an asset held by the couple, not as part of Ann Romney’s trust. A campaign spokeswoman said Thursday that Romney will file amendments to both his 2007 and 2011 financial disclosures to correctly identify the bank account.

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