On Wednesday, the Romney campaign announced that the Republican nominee will only turn his blind trust-held financial assets over to a federally recognized blind trust if he is elected president. Yesterday, the Obama campaign called on the Republican candidate to immediately place his investments in a federally recognized blind trust.
Is this really an issue? The Obama campaign sure thinks so. Ben LaBolt, an Obama spokesman claims that Republican candidate’s investments are held in a blind trust to give off an “arms’ length” impression. LaBolt continues, by adding, “It’s also how he denied responsibility for investments in a Swiss bank account, Chinese companies, companies that do business with Iran and tax havens in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.” LaBolt argues that Romney’s device is not really “blind” due to the fact that this blind trust is managed by his attorney, with whom the candidate can easily correspond with. The Obama campaign then makes the leap that the former Massachusetts governor is wealthy, and because he is wealthy he is out of touch with everyday Americans. Further, he is oftentimes equivocal about his finances, and thus, untrustworthy.
The response from the opposing camp was predictable. Amanda Henneberg, a campaign spokesperson, dubbed this “another tired distraction by the Obama campaign”. The campaign then rehashed what it has said since the 2008 campaign: “Governor and Mrs. Romney’s assets are managed on a blind basis. They do not control the investment of these assets, which are under the control and overall management of a trustee”. Be prepared to hear that line several times over the next several months.
It is unfortunate that the Bain Capital co-founder has to defend and apologize for his business success and resultant wealth. His biggest strengths and best qualifications for the office, especially given where the economy is, are being attacked on the basis of something very trivial to the race. It additionally seems absurd that he would knowingly invest in Chinese companies, or companies doing business with Iran. He certainly has his issues, but a Chinese and Iranian supporter he is not. Unfortunately, the days of a strictly issue-based campaign are gone (if they ever even existed), and mud-slinging and personal attacks are the new norm.
Does Romney having a private blind trust versus a federally recognized blind trust influence your opinion of him? Does the fact that Obama had a federally recognized blind trust as a U.S. Senator, and now keeps his holdings as mutual funds and a debt fund, make him more trustworthy in your eyes?