Mitt Romney & GOP News : WE Welcome A Debate On Transparency!

     3 CHICS’  DAILY DOSE OF MITT ROMNEY FACTS

24 Fees Mitt Romney Tried To Raise In Massachusetts

Mitt Romney often hits President Obama for calling for tax increases on the wealthiest Americans. But a Democratic source forwards to this rather lengthy list of fees Romney raised in Massachusetts. He was struggling to close a budget gap without raising taxes; but many of which citizens of the state saw them hidden tax increases nonetheless.

  •   Andrew Kaczynski‏@BuzzFeedAndrewRomney proposed a fee on mentally retarded citizens of $100 to pay for an assessment that was previously free. Check oit out here.
  •    Andrew Kaczynski‏@BuzzFeedAndrew As Governor Romney wanted a $10 fee on the blind for a state certificate of blindness and $15 fee for a photo id card. Check it out here.
  • Brad Delong has a don’t-miss op ed in the Detroit News this morning:“President Obama has a plan for dealing with our cyclical unemployment crisis. It is called the American Jobs Act….Romney has no plan.
  •  new study shows that the House Republican budget would raise taxes on the middle class, and cut them for millionaires.
  • And the NYT has a piece on whyAmerica can’t afford Romney’s plan to eliminate jobs for teachers, firefighters, and police officers.
  • Yesterday in a complaint to the FEC, we demanded that Crossroads GPS disclose its donors, saying that the group is plainly a “political committee” subject to federal reporting requirements
  • Mother Jones reports that thiscomes after the 4th Circuit of Appeals ruling that Karl Rove’s dark-money outfit Crossroads GPS fits the FederalElection Commission definition of a political committee.
  • And as Salon.com writes, the letterrepresentsa major escalation in Democrats’ war on conservative secret money groups.
  • And finally, yesterday the Romney campaign confirmed that he opposes a landmark environmental regulation controlling mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants.

AND NOW ON TO THE ISSUE OF ROMNEY’S LACK OF TRANSPARENCY…

Romney Developed A Record For Lacking Transparency

Romney “Has Made A Keep-It-Under-Wraps Approach A Hallmark Of His Campaign” And Has “Often Broken Precedent Set By Presidential Candidates Of Both Parties.” “But Romney, whose views have been shaped both by his years in politics and his nearly three decades in private business, has made a keep-it-under-wraps approach a hallmark of his campaign. He’s often broken precedent set by presidential candidates of both parties.  ‘He is reluctant to disclose information that is standard for disclosure and has become the norm,’ said Angela Canterbury, policy director for the Project on Government Oversight. And she and others say there’s no reason to think that style would change if Romney becomes president.” [Associated Press, 6/11/12]

Associated Press: “There’s A Short-Term Political Benefit, To Be Sure, In Keeping A Lid On Everything… But There Also Are Risks, Not The Least Of Which Is That Romney Could Appear To Be Hiding Something, Further Irking Voters Already Suspicious Of Politicians.” “There’s a short-term political benefit, to be sure, in keeping a lid on everything from campaign appearances to the names of big donors. It means Romney can more easily control his campaign message, rather than getting knocked off course by Democratic hecklers at events or by unflattering media stories. And it can prevent providing fodder for political rivals to use against him.  But there also are risks, not the least of which is that Romney could appear to be hiding something, further irking voters already suspicious of politicians.” [Associated Press,6/11/12]

Policy Director For Project On Government Oversight Angela Canterbury: Romney “Is Reluctant To Disclose Information That Is Standard For Disclosure And Has Become The Norm.”“‘He is reluctant to disclose information that is standard for disclosure and has become the norm,’ said Angela Canterbury, policy director for the Project on Government Oversight. And she and others say there’s no reason to think that style would change if Romney becomes president.” [Associated Press, 6/11/12]

Romney Spent Taxpayer Money To Erase His Hard Drives in Massachusetts

ROMNEY SPENT NEARLY $100,000 IN TAXPAYER MONEY TO HIDE HIS RECORDS FROM THE PUBLIC

  • Romney Spent Nearly $100,000 In Taxpayer Money To Replace Computers In The Massachusetts’ Governor’s Office As “Part Of An Unprecedented Effort To Keep His Records Secret.” “Mitt Romney spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret, Reuters has learned.” [Reuters, 12/5/11]
  •   Romney’s Staff Removed The Administration’s Computer Hard Drives And Wiped E-Mails From A Server As Romney’s Term Ended.“Just before Mitt Romney left the Massachusetts governor’s office and first ran for president, 11 of his top aides purchased their state-issued computer hard drives, and the Romney administration’s e-mails were all wiped from a server, according to interviews and records obtained by the Globe. Romney administration officials had the remaining computers in the governor’s office replaced just before Governor Deval Patrick’s staff showed up to take power in January 2007, according to Mark Reilly, Patrick’s chief legal counsel.” [Boston Globe, 11/17/11]
  • When Governor Romney Left Office All Administration Computers Where Replaced, The Server Was Taken Out Of Service, All Files Were Removed From It, And It Was Replaced.Mark Reilly, Deval Patrick’s chief legal counsel: “‘Before the current administration took office, the computers used during that time period were replaced and the server used during that time period was taken out of service, all files were removed from it, and it was also replaced.’” [Boston Globe, 11/17/11]
  • Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho: “People Probably Didn’t Want Their Hard Drives Subject To An Opposition Research Dig.”“Why did so many aides buy their hard drives?  ‘You know a lot of people probably didn’t want their hard drives subject to an opposition research dig, which is what we are seeing happen now,’ Gitcho said. ‘I do know this has been a long standing practice and everything has been done with complete compliance with the law.’  When asked about the hard drives on the campaign trail, Romney Friday brushed it off as typical presidential season politics.” [CNN,11/18/11]

ROMNEY’S VERSION OF TRANSPARENCY WAS TO PRINT ADMINISTRATION MATERIAL DUMPED IN 700 CUBIC FEET OF BOXES AND SENT TO THE ARCHIVES

Associated Press: “Romney’s Secrecy Goes Beyond The Details Of His Campaign Schedule Or His Policy Proposals.  He Has Been Selective At Best In Providing Public Records From His 2003-2007 Term As Massachusetts Governor.” “Romney’s secrecy goes beyond the details of his campaign schedule or his policy proposals.  He has been selective at best in providing public records from his 2003-2007 term as Massachusetts governor.  Late last year, he acknowledged that just before he left office he authorized a sweeping purge of electronic data from his executive office, allowing top aides to purchase and remove their computer hard drives. He also benefited from a law that widely exempted the governor’s office from state public records disclosure requirements. His campaign aides point to more than 600 boxes of materials that were sent from his office to the Massachusetts archives, but a week-long examination of the Romney records now in those archives by The Associated Press did not turn up a single email or internal document either authored by or sent to Romney. Some such emails have since surfaced in connection with public records requests. “[Associated Press, 6/11/12]

Associated Press: “His Campaign Aides Point To More Than 600 Boxes Of Materials That Were Sent From His Office To The Massachusetts Archives, But A Week-Long Examination Of The Romney Records Now In Those Archives By The Associated Press Did Not Turn Up A Single Email Or Internal Document Either Authored By Or Sent To Romney.”“Romney’s secrecy goes beyond the details of his campaign schedule or his policy proposals.  He has been selective at best in providing public records from his 2003-2007 term as Massachusetts governor.  Late last year, he acknowledged that just before he left office he authorized a sweeping purge of electronic data from his executive office, allowing top aides to purchase and remove their computer hard drives. He also benefited from a law that widely exempted the governor’s office from state public records disclosure requirements. His campaign aides point to more than 600 boxes of materials that were sent from his office to the Massachusetts archives, but a week-long examination of the Romney records now in those archives by The Associated Press did not turn up a single email or internal document either authored by or sent to Romney. Some such emails have since surfaced in connection with public records requests. “[Associated Press,6/11/12]

A FOIA For Romney’s Emails On Health Care Would Mean Digging Through Hundreds Of Boxes Of Unlabeled Printed Emails And “You Might Get Those Materials By 2016.” Huffington Post wrote of Romney’s gubernatorial archives composed of hundreds of unlabeled boxes of printed emails: “If one wants to search out all of Romney’s emails on, say, health care reform, good luck finding anything. Not every document was necessarily put in order, nor even labeled. ‘There’s no discrete series of emails,’ he adds. ‘We didn’t take any electronic or digital files.’ Romney’s emails were printed out and stuffed into cartons. Finding and collating emails on any given subject means digging through hundreds of boxes. In fact, if you request the full file on the creation Romney’s state Health Connector, expect at least a very long delay. You might get those materials by 2016.” [Huffington Post, 5/24/11]

***Romney Refuses To Release His Tax Returns And Personal Financial Information

ROMNEY WILL ONLY RELEASE WHAT IS REQUIRED BY LAW, AND INDICATED HIS REASON FOR SECRECY WAS TO AVOID POLITICAL PROBLEMS

Associated Press: “Keeping His Secrets, Mitt Romney Tends To Lift The Veil On His Finances And Campaign Only If The Law Says He Must.” “Keeping his secrets, Mitt Romney tends to lift the veil on his finances and campaign only if the law says he must.  The Republican presidential candidate refuses to identify his biggest donors who ‘bundle’ money for his campaign. He often declines to say who’s meeting with him or what he’s doing for hours at a time. He puts limits on media access to his fundraisers. And he resists releasing all of his tax returns, making just a single year public after facing pressure to do so.“ [Associated Press,6/11/12]

ROMNEY GAVE 23 YEARS’ WORTH OF TAX RETURNS TO JOHN MCCAIN TO BE VETTED FOR THE VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION…

Romney Provided The McCain Campaign With 23 Years Of Tax Forms To Vet Him As A Possible VP – Romney Added “The IRS Doesn’t Require You To Keep That Many Years, But I’m A Bit Of Pack Rat So I Had Them All.” “Romney was McCain’s fiercest rival for the GOP presidential nomination. Romney would have been the first Mormon to carry a major party’s standard in a presidential election. Romney did give some glimpses into the McCain veep vetting process. ‘One receives a very substantial questionnaire, and one is asked for tax forms from 1985 to the present,’ Romney said. ‘That’s 23 years of tax forms. The IRS doesn’t require you to keep that many years, but I’m a bit of pack rat so I had them all.’” [Arizona Republic, 9/3/08]

BUT RELEASED ONLY ONE ENTIRE YEAR OF TAX RETURNS FOR THE AMERICAN PUBLIC

Washington Post’s Ezra Klein: “So Let’s Be Clear: Romney Hasn’t Released His ‘Taxes.’ He Has Released A Single Tax Return From A Year In Which He Was Already Running For President For A Second Time.” [Klein, Washington Post, 1/24/12]

AND WON’T SAY WHEN THEY WILL RELEASE A SECOND YEAR

Romney Campaign: “Sometime In The Next Six Months, And Prior To The Election, Gov. Romney Will File And Release The 2011 Return When There Is Sufficient Information To Provide An Accurate Return.”“Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney announced late Friday that he had sought an extension to file his 2011 tax returns, the newest piece of evidence of the political problem those documents have and will continue to cause him in his presidential bid. ‘Sometime in the next six months, and prior to the election, Gov. Romney will file and release the 2011 return when there is sufficient information to provide an accurate return,’ said spokeswoman Andrea Saul in a statement that arrived in the Fix email inbox at 5:16 pm on Friday night. (Hello, Friday news dump!)” [The Fix, Washington Post, 4/16/12]

1967: GEORGE ROMNEY DISCLOSED 12 YEARS OF TAX RETURNS WHEN RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT AND SAID RELEASING ONLY ONE YEAR OF TAX RETURNS WOULD “BE A FLUKE, DONE FOR SHOW”

  • George Romney Was Believed To Be The First Presidential Candidate To Make His Income Tax Returns Public.[UPI, in the St. Joseph Gazette, 11/27/67]
  • 1967: George Romney Released 12 Years Of Tax Returns. “Republican president contender George W. Romney, in a move believed without precedent in American politics, Saturday mad public his income tax returns for the last 12 years.” [UPI, in the St. Joseph Gazette , 11/27/67]
  • George Romney Balked At Releasing Just A Single Year Of Tax Returns Because “One Year Could Be A Fluke, Perhaps Done For Show.”“George Harris, Look senior editor, said he had ‘badgered’ the governor for his latest income tax form but Romney had balked because ‘one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show…’ ‘Stumped by this argument, I was not prepared for the move it eventually led him to make: He ordered up all the Form 1040’s that he and Mrs. Romney had filed over the last 12 years – including those profitable ones when he saved the American Motors Corporation from bankruptcy and became a millionaire on the company’s stock options.” [UPI in St. Joseph Gazette, 11/27/67]

Romney Refuses To Release His Campaign Bundlers

ROMNEY REFUSES TO LIST ALL OF THE NAMES OF HIS BUNDLERS – PREVENTING VOTERS FROM KNOWING WHO WIELDS INFLUENCE INSIDE HIS CAMPAIGN

Romney Refused To Identify “Bundlers” Which “PreventsVoters From Knowing Who Wields Influence Inside The GOP Frontrunner’s Campaign And How Their Interests Might Benefit If He Is Elected.”“Unlike President Barack Obama, Romney’s campaign will not identify his major fundraisers, and federal law doesn’t require him to. The AP identified several of Romney’s ‘bundlers’ through interviews, finance records, event invitations and other publicity about campaign events. The lack of transparency by the Romney campaign prevents voters from knowing who wields influence inside the GOP frontrunner’s campaign and how their interests might benefit if he is elected.” [Associated Press, 3/27/12]

ROMNEY’S REFUSAL TO RELEASE THE NAMES OF HIS BUNDLERS “STRIKING AND DISTURBING”

Washington Post Editorial: Romney’s Refusal To Release The Names Of His Bundlers “Represents A Striking And Disturbing Departure From The Past Practice Of Presidential Candidates Of Both Parties.” “As Mitt Romney edges closer to the Republican presidential nomination, the imperative grows for the former Massachusetts governor to release his income tax returns and disclose the identities of the fundraising bundlers who have brought in millions for his campaign. Mr. Romney’s determined lack of transparency on these two fronts — the candidate and his campaign have said he has no plans to release either — represents a striking and disturbing departure from the past practice of presidential candidates of both parties.” [Editorial, Washington Post, 1/11/12]

  • Washington Post Editorial: Presidential Campaign Bundlers Should Be Released Because “ACEO Who Bundles $500,000 For A Candidate Can Have As Much Influence As The Company’s Washington Lobbyist.”“The identity of a candidate’s bundlers is similarly important. Campaign finance laws limit individual contributions to a candidate to $2,500 per election ($5,000 if you include the primary and general election campaigns), but bundlers haul in tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars by tapping extensive donor networks. Knowing to whom and for how much candidates are indebted is essential information, of which candidates and their advisers are exquisitely aware. Yet under current law the only bundlers whose identities candidates must disclose are registered lobbyists. That information is useful but insufficient: A CEO who bundles $500,000 for a candidate can have as much influence as the company’s Washington lobbyist. Why should this knowledge be kept from voters? In 2008, Mr. Romney promised to release information about bundlers but, aside from issuing state-by-state lists of finance committee members that lacked any details about money raised, does not appear to have done so. Now is the time to make up for that lapse.” [Editorial, Washington Post, 1/11/12]

The Law Does Not Require That Candidates Disclose Bundlers, But It Has Been Standard Practice For The Last Decade. “Romney is not required by law to disclose the identities of his fundraisers with the exception of those who work as federal lobbyists. Releasing the names of bundlers, however, has been standard in presidential campaigns for more than a decade.” [USA Today,5/25/12] 

ROMNEY GIVES SPECIAL ACCESS TO HIS BUNDLERS AND DONORS

Mitt Romney Has Yet To Release The Names Of The People Who Bundle For His Campaign, “Even As He Promises Them Special Access Perks.” “More than a month after becoming his party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Republican Mitt Romney has not publicly identified most of the fundraisers helping him collect the millions of dollars he needs to win the White House, even as he promises them special access perks.” [USA Today, 5/25/12] 

5/18/12: The Romney Campaign “Sent Out An 11-Page Document Friday That Details The Perks High-Dollar Donors And Fundraisers Get In Exchange For Cutting Or Bundling Checks.”  “It pays to be a friend of the Romney campaign. The campaign sent out an 11-page document Friday that details the perks high-dollar donors and fundraisers get in exchange for cutting or bundling checks.” [Politico, 05/18/12]

THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN HAS SOLD ACCESS TO ROMNEY AND HIS POLICY ADVISORS THROUGH HIGH-PRICED “ROUNDTABLES”

12/2/11: Romney Policy Director Lanhee Chen And Special Adviser On Policy And Lobbyist Vin Weber Will Be The Draw At A Capitol Hill Club Fundraiser In Washington, DC.“ROMNEY TO BRING POLICY TEAM: Annah and Pat Cave, Mimi and John Kneuer, and Brooke and King Mueller are hosting a fundraiser Dec. 2 at the Capitol Hill Club for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The draw: Dr. Lanhee Chen, policy director, and former Rep. Vin Weber (Minn.) — now of Clark & Weinstock — special adviser on policy to Romney. The cost: $500 per person or $1,000 per PAC.” [Politico Influence, 11/11/11]

2/9/12: Romney “Policy Roundtable” Fundraiser Include “Industry Finance Chairs” With Ties To Coal (Dominion Coal President Thomas F. Farrell II And Former Sen. Jim Talent Who Lobbied For A Coal Producer).“At 5 p.m., Mr. Romney will attend an elaborate fund-raiser billed as a ‘policy round table’ on issues like education and health care, led by members of his campaign staff and kitchen cabinet, including his policy director, Lanhee Chen, and the former senator Jim Talent, who helps lead the lobbying firm Mercury Public Affairs. … An invitation to the event named seven ‘Industry Finance Chairs’ for Mr. Romney’s campaign. They include Thomas F. Farrell II, the president of Dominion Coal and Mr. Romney’s energy finance chairman; Brett McMahon, an executive at one of the nation’s leading concrete subcontractors and Mr. Romney’s infrastructure chairman; and Patrick Durkin, a Barclay’s executive who is Mr. Romney’s top lobbyist-bundler and his financial industry finance chairman. L.E. Simmons, the head of a Texas-based private equity firm serving large energy service and equipment companies, will lead a discussion on energy. Mr. Talent, whose firm represents one of the largest coal producers in the world and helped shape Mr. Romney’s positions on loosening regulation of coal mining, will lead the infrastructure portion of the discussion. [New York Times ,2/9/12]

Headline: “Romney Holds A Policy Round Table, But Attendees Must Raise $10,000” [New York Times,2/9/12]

5/2/12: Romney  Hosts A “Roundtable Meeting” And Evening Fundraiser With Roundtable Access Priced At $10,000 – $20,000. [Fundraising Invitation, Romney For President, Accessed 4/11/12]

  • Politico’s Kenneth Vogel of Politico: “Mitt Fundraiser: ‘Policy Roundtable’ Access For Anyone Who Raises $20k For General, Per Invite Obtained By @apalmerdc:  [@kenvogel, Twitter, 4/11/12]

Romney Refuses To Say How He Would Pay For His $5 Trillion Tax Plan

ROMNEY’S TAX PLAN WOULD COST $5 TRILLION OVER A DECADE…

Center On Budget And Policy Priorities: Romney’s New Tax Cuts Would Cost $4.9 Trillion Over A Decade, On Top Of The Cost Of Extending The Bush Tax Cuts.“The Tax Policy Center estimates that the Romney tax plan would lose about $480 billion in tax revenue in calendar year 2015, beyond the revenues losses inherent in maintaining current policy (such as continuing all of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts).  Over the 2014-2022 period, that implies a total reduction in revenues of about $4.9 trillion, relative to current tax policy.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/21/12]

…BUT HAS NOT OUTLINED HOW HE’S PAY FOR THEM

Headline: “Romney Calls For 20 Percent Lower Taxes; Omits How To Pay For Them” [First Read, NBC, 2/22/12]

Tax Policy Center’s Howard Gleckman: Romney Has Not Said How He Would Achieve “Seemingly Contradictory Goals” Of Massive New Tax Cuts And A Balanced Federal Budget.From a Howard Gleckman blog post on Tax Vox, the Tax Policy Center blog: “Mitt Romney has proposed massive new tax cuts and promised to balance the federal budget. How will he achieve these seemingly contradictory goals? For now, he isn’t saying. And, in fact, his campaign has been sending out vague and somewhat conflicting signals about where the money would come from to finance his rate cuts and other tax reductions.” [Howard Gleckman, Tax Vox, 3/8/12]

…AND EVEN ADMITTED HE HASN’T RELEASED ENOUGH DETAILS TO DETERMINE THE COST OF HIS TAX PLAN

Romney: “I Haven’t Laid Out All The Details” Of How I Would Deal With Tax Deductions And Exemptions So “Frankly” My Tax Plan “Can’t Be Scored.”Quick: “So I guess my question becomes, does your plan assume that we can get to tackling the budget deficit by cutting some of those expenditures and by raising growth and that alone, or is there a need to actually raise more tax revenue?” Romney: “You know what I put out in my plan is a series of principles that allow our economy to grow and at the same time maintain a neutral budget impact. And so I haven’t laid out all the details of how we’re going to deal with each one of the deductions and exemptions. So I think it’s kind of interesting for the groups to try and score it because frankly, it can’t be scored because those kinds of details are going to have to be worked out with Congress and we have a wide array of options.” [Squawk Box, CNBC, 3/7/12]

Romney Adviser Lanhee Chen Said Romney Is Unlikely To Specify Details Of His Broad Tax Overhaul Plan During The Campaign.“While Romney has spoken extensively of a broad tax overhaul plan that would eliminate certain deductions and exemptions and lower rates, he is unlikely to specify during the presidential campaign which ones he would seek to undo, Chen said. ‘There are a number of specific ways to get there,’ he said. Romney ‘is going to get in there as president and work with the Congress to figure out how we can achieve a broader base of taxation and lower rates across the board.’” [Bloomberg, 6/1/12]

Romney Won’t Release Information About His Fundraisers

ROMNEY KEEPS FUNDRAISERS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS…

Bloomberg Headline: “Romney Raising Money Behind Closed Doors.” [Bloomberg, 5/21/12]

  •    Romney Campaign “Campaign Refuses To Say How Much Money Each Event Raises, And Doesn’t Regularly Release A Full Schedule Of The Events From Which Reporters Are Barred” Which Include Private Fundraisers.  In the aftermath of the Florida event, Romney agreed to allow a handful of reporters to attend just a few of the many finance events he holds each week. Still, his campaign refuses to say how much money each event raises, and doesn’t regularly release a full schedule of the events from which reporters are barred. Romney’s campaign expanded the number of people allowed into the fundraisers beginning this week, allowing three news service reporters instead of one and also allowing a TV network representative in, though without a camera. Reporters are still barred from covering fundraisers at private homes. “[Associated Press,6/11/12]
  •         May 2012: Romney Held 15 Public Events And At Least 14 Fundraisers, Most Of Which Were Private And Closed To The Press, So The Number Of Fundraisers “Could Be Even Higher.” “Since the start of May, Romney has held 15 public events and at least 14 fundraisers based on a review of his public schedule and media reports. Most Romney fundraisers are private and reporters aren’t allowed access, so the number of fundraisers could be even higher.” [Bloomberg,5/21/12]

ROMNEY’S CAMPAIGN HAS YET TO AGREE TO A POOL OF REPORTERS

Romney Hasn’t Yet Agreed To A “Protective Pool Of Reporters,” Because His Aides Fear It Could Stray Him From Their Message “So They Are Loath To Agree To It Until They Absolutely Must.”“Romney has had the Republican nomination locked up for months, but he has yet to start traveling daily with the journalists who are assigned to cover him. He hasn’t agreed to what’s called a ‘protective pool’ of reporters, who go wherever a candidate goes. Romney aides fear the arrangement would push the candidate off the message of the day, so they are loath to agree to it until they absolutely must.” [Associated Press,6/11/12]

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