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Friday, September 21, 2012

Looks Like There's a Whole Lot of Nothing in Mitt Romney's Taxes

Posted by Paul Constant on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 2:44 PM

In case you missed it, at long last Mitt Romney has released his 2011 tax returns. And I've now scraped my eyes over every page, even though I didn't understand most of what I saw. But here's what I think: There's virtually nothing of interest there. There are lots of investments in Google and Lululemon and Walmart of Mexico. There's the money we've already learned about hidden away in the Caymans and the British Virgin Islands and the Netherlands and Germany. But all the forms describing those foreign investments are followed up with this phrase:

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This part, the bottom part, is the relevant bit: "The PFIC is held indirectly through Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Partners, LLC and Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Partners III, LLC. The number of shares is unknown." It seems that Romney has managed to keep his foreign money tucked away from the press. Again.

And why wouldn't he? Romney knew he'd be running for president. He understood that he'd have to divulge this return at some point (even though he almost definitely underestimated how important his tax returns would be to the election process). He had plenty of time to scrub and cleanse everything. I have no doubt that his returns from twelve years ago are incriminating, full of the kinds of things that would give journalists months of material: Cheats, unethical investments, an even more obvious lack of faith in American investments. But by now, we're all pretty jaded by the information in these tax returns, and the amount of control Romney has exercised over them. Hell, he even picked the tax rate he wanted to pay and adjusted his charitable giving to reflect that number. It's so tightly controlled, it's intentionally boring. This whole tax release thing is exactly like Mitt Romney: Wooden, predictable, unexciting, with a whiff of something awful leaking in around the edges.

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