When you are running to be the next President of the United States as Mitt Romney currently is the Office of Government Ethic’s likes to know where your various conflicts of interest may be found, especially when you’re worth a quarter of a billion dollars and most of your money comes from a giant conglomerate like Bain Capital.
Romney’s money is currently tied up in 48 Bain Capital accounts but those accounts are all protected by confidentiality agreements which means legally he’s not required to disclose their underlying assents.
As the Washington Post reports, while completely legal the situation makes it impossible for lawmakers to determine where Romney’s conflicts of interest may be found.
As one Republican lawyer proclaims:
“His approach turns the whole purpose of the ethics statute on its ear.”
The loophole was actually created by John Kerry, ironically Kerry was trying to protect a confidentiality agreement his wife had with none other than Bain Capital. However unlike Romney who derives most of his wealth from the firm, John Kerry’s wife represented a much smaller part of her fortune through the company’s holdings.
Further, while other nominees are required to divest undisclosed assets when they enter public office the President of the United States is not placed under the same restrictions, which seems odd considering any conflicts at the highest office should be taken more seriously and not less seriously.
This isn’t the first time Mitt Romney has attempted to hide parts of his massive fortune, he failed to disclose $100 million located in a family trust, nine overseas accounts and 12 partnership interests while filing his initial disclosure forms, those holdings were only revealed months later when Romney agreed to release his tax returns.
In the meantime Mitt Romney’s team keeps falling back on the time tested “following the law” response, which doesn’t sit well with many American’s who want a more full picture painted for their potential future Presidents.