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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 04:46 PM ET, 01/26/2012

What Romney will face at tonight’s GOP debate

You can be sure that Mitt Romney’s GOP rivals will bring up this Los Angeles Times revelation about his wealth and taxes, which is currently burning up the internet:

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 GOP presidential hopeful filed in August as part of his White House bid.
The Romney campaign described the discrepancies as “trivial” but acknowledged Thursday afternoon that they are undergoing an internal review of how the investments were reported and will make “some minor technical amendments” to Romney’s financial disclosure that will not alter the overall picture of his finances.
A review by the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau found that at least 23 funds and partnerships listed in the couple’s 2010 tax returns did not show up or were not listed in the same fashion on Romney’s most recent financial disclosure, including 11 based in low-tax foreign countries such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg.

I don’t have the expertise to evaluate the Romney campaign’s claim that the discrepancies are “trivial.” But the L.A. Times piece quotes experts saying legitimate questions have been raised here. And at least one of the omitted accounts held $3 million. The idea that these investments simply got lost in the accounting shuffle — that they are “trivial” — could “reinforce an image of the Republican candidate as elite and out of touch,” as the L.A. Times puts it. This is probably a case that Romney’s Republican rivals will make tonight.

Another thing to look for tonight: Today Newt Gingrich went on the at tack against Romney over a Think Progress report (strange bedfellows alert!) claiming that Romney’s personal financial disclosure from last year showed ownership of shares of a Goldman Sachs fund that invested in mortgage-backed securities — and was linked to thousands of foreclosure bids in Florida.

The Romney camp didn’t respond directly to Gingrich’s latest criticisms, merely dismissing them as more “attacks on free enterpise.” How much longer will this wash? Romney will have to do better than this tonight.

On a third front, my Post colleague Al Kamen made an interesting point today, speculating that Romney may not want to release previous returns because the ones from the years since the crash may show he did extremely well even as “the economy went into a tailspin and millions lost their homes and jobs.”

The Romney campaign had taken to boasting in recent days that they had put the tax issue behind them. That’s looking and more like wishful thinking.

By  |  04:46 PM ET, 01/26/2012

 
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