Multimillionaire Mitt Romney wants us to trust him to lead the most powerful and wealthiest nation on earth — but he doesn't think we deserve his trust.
He has invoked an obscure exception in federal ethics laws to conceal the nature and extent of his vast holdings. He doesn't want us to know "whether it is offshore or whether those holdings could affect his policies or present any conflicts of interest," reports the Washington Post.
He offers only a limited description of his assets, which raises some critical questions: What is he hiding and why?
He very reluctantly and under considerable pressure from the public and his rivals for the GOP nomination released his tax 2010 and partial 2011 returns earlier this year, but even that was not a full disclosure.
Romney may meet the letter of the law, as his lawyers insist, but certainly not the spirit of full disclosure. The Post reports:
"Several outside experts across the political spectrum, however, say Romney’s disclosure is the most opaque they have encountered, with some suggesting the filing effectively defeats the spirit of disclosure requirements.
"Romney’s fortune and his association with Bain are frequent topics in the presidential campaign, with opponents charging that the way he accumulated much of his wealth — through leveraged buyouts that in some cases ended in bankruptcy and layoffs — is at odds with the interests of working-class Americans."
Cleta Mitchell, a Republican lawyer who has represented dozens of candidates and officials in the disclosure process, told the Post, “His approach turns the whole purpose of the ethics statute on its ear.”
No other presidential candidate withheld information on such a large portion of his assets, according to the Post.