Tags: romney | ethics | law | finances

Romney Using Ethics Law to Evade Financial Disclosure

Friday, 06 Apr 2012 10:09 AM

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GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is using provisions in federal law to avoid disclosing his personal wealth, The Washington Post reported in a lengthy examination. President Barack Obama immediately seized on the report and took to Twitter to needle the former Massachusetts governor.

“So what’s Romney hiding? Tweet @MittRomney to demand he release his tax returns. #WhatsRomneyHiding,” Obama wrote according to the Post. Romney’s use of federal ethics laws has shielded information about where his money is invested. However, he is not violating any rules, the Post reported.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the Post that his disclosures “completely and accurately describes Governor Romney’s assets as required by the law,” adding that the Republican front-runner has turned over his investments to a trustee and he does not know the details.

“His approach turns the whole purpose of the ethics statute on its ear,” Cleta Mitchell, a Republican lawyer who has advised many candidates on the disclosure process, including Rick Santorum, told the Post.

The Office of Government Ethics allows candidates to shield assets in investment accounts that have a legally binding confidentiality agreement. Romney declined to identify such underlying assets in 48 accounts from Bain Capital, the firm he founded in Boston. The private equity company routinely asks its investors to sign such confidentiality agreements, the Post reported.

Romney’s tax forms, released under pressure, showed holdings in a Swiss bank account, a real estate trust, and nine offshore accounts not named on the public disclosure reports, the Post reported.

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