New details about Romney's wealth confirm F. Scott Fitzgerald's quip about the rich
News sources report that Mitt Romney's financial portfolio has included an offshore company in Bermuda that remained invisible to voters. But it may be images of the Romney clan vacationing at their $8 million summer compound on a lake in New Hampshire that have more impact.
As everybody knows, Mitt Romney is a very wealthy man.
Net worth somewhere around a quarter billion dollars, not counting the $100 million trust set up for his five sons. Offshore investments. A beach house inÂ La Jolla, Calif., a town house inÂ Belmont, Mass., and a summer compound on the shores ofÂ Lake WinnipesaukeeÂ inÂ New Hampshire.
Photos of the Romney clan riding jet skis and a large power boat on vacation in New Hampshire this week led Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi to wonder if this was Mr. Romneyâ€™s â€śJohn Kerry momentâ€ť or perhaps proof of F. Scott Fitzgeraldâ€™s famous line about the rich: â€śThey are different from you and me.â€ť
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In Senator Kerryâ€™s case, it was the photo of him wind-surfing in 2004 when he was the Democratic challenger to former president George W. Bush â€“ an image Republicans quickly used to show that Kerryâ€™s wealth allowed him to live an elite life-style â€¦ â€śdifferent from you and me.â€ť
Itâ€™s a ticklish political situation for Romney, or at least has the potential to be. He wouldnâ€™t be the richest man ever to run for the White House (that would be Ross Perot back in 1992 and 1996). But if elected, he would be the wealthiest president ever, according to the detailed reporting of Forbes Magazineâ€™s â€śwealth team.â€ť
Back during the Republican primaries and debates, it took some needling by Newt Gingrich and others to get Romney to release his tax returns for just two years (far fewer than the 23 years he provided Sen. John McCain in 2008 when Romney was being considered as McCainâ€™s running mate). Meanwhile, thanks to the reporting of Forbes and others, the specifics of Romneyâ€™s wealth are known in greater detail.
Among them: $52 million in Bain & Company andÂ Bain CapitalÂ funds, $23 million in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), $36 million worth ofÂ Federal Home Loan Banks consolidated obligations, an estimated $10 million of structured notes fromÂ Goldman Sachs andÂ BNP Paribas, and a personal loan of $400,000 to the Romneysâ€™ horse trainer.
This week, more details were revealed.
â€śFor nearly 15 years, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's financial portfolio has included an offshore company that remained invisible to voters as his political star rose,â€ť the Associated Press reported.
â€śBased in Bermuda, Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd. was not listed on any of Romney's state or federal financial reports,â€ť according to the AP. â€śThe company is among several Romney holdings that have not been fully disclosed, including one that recently posted a $1.9 million earning suggesting he could be wealthier than the nearly $250 million estimated by his campaign.â€ť
There have been no suggestions that the Romneysâ€™ sheltering some of their wealth in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands breaks US tax law.
"Everything on the filings is reported as required," campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement. "If OGE [the US Office of Government Ethics] has an issue with any filings, they would let us know."Â
Not surprisingly, liberal organizations, such as the Think Progress political blog, are jumping up and down demanding more answers. Thatâ€™s to be expected from Romneyâ€™s political opponents.
But as Vanity Fair observed in its own long investigative piece on Romneyâ€™s off-shore investments, â€śGiven his reticence to discuss his wealth, itâ€™s only natural to wonder how he got it, how he invests it, and if he pays all his taxes on it.â€ť
As the TV political scenes focused on the Romneyâ€™s $8 million summer place, Obama couldnâ€™t help mentioning that his family vacations growing up featured Greyhound bus travel and the swimming pools at Holiday Inn motels. Realizing the importance of leisure time imagery, however, especially given millions of Americansâ€™ economic worries, he did cancel this summerâ€™s Obama family vacation at the resort island of Marthaâ€™s Vineyard.
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