The new disclosure report shows that Romney has sold all of his private, independently owned stock in foreign companies. But he still has a stake in foreign companies through investments in Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded in Boston in 1984. Citing Bain confidentiality requirements, Romney has declined to disclose the nature of those investments.
The sales included shares in Chinese real estate and educational firms and in Wal-Mart de Mexico, which has come under scrutiny amid bribery allegations. Romney also sold stock in dozens of name-brand U.S. firms, including McDonald’s, Google, Apple and JPMorgan Chase, the records show.
Campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said that the Romney family’s assets “are managed on a blind basis” by a Boston-based attorney. “They do not control the investment of these assets, which are under the control and overall management of a trustee,” Saul said.
If elected, Romney would be among the wealthiest individuals ever to win the presidency, with a net worth estimated in the report of up to $255 million. The overall figures are little changed from what Romney reported last year
In records submitted to the Office of Government Ethics, presidential candidates must provide only broad value ranges for their holdings, making determination of a precise net worth impossible. Forbes magazine recently estimated Romney’s net worth at $230 million, while his campaign characterized the amount at $190 million to $250 million.
Obama and the first lady, Michelle, reported assets worth between $2.6 million and $8.3 million in a personal finance disclosure filed last month. The couple had up to $1 million in a JPMorgan asset management account; $1 million to $5 million in U.S. Treasury notes; and a mortgage of between $500,000 and $1 million on their Chicago home.
Romney’s personal wealth has become a regular point of debate in the 2012 presidential contest, in part because of attacks by Republican primary opponents and the Obama campaign on Romney’s history as a leveraged buyout specialist. Romney has defended his private equity career as a way of creating jobs and has accused Obama of attacking free markets.
Romney has several holdings linked to major political donors, including stock in Marriott International, where Romney served as a director. Marriott International’s chairman, J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr., and his brother, Host Hotels & Resorts chief Richard Marriott, have contributed $1 million each to Restore Our Future, a super PAC dedicated to helping Romney win the White House. Romney also has more than $1 million invested with the firm run by hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who has hosted fundraisers for Romney and has given $1 million to Restore Our Future.