Dodge! Duck! Dip! Dive! Dodge!
Last week, the folks at Gawker announced that they’d uncovered over 900 pages of financial data about Bain Capital, the company founded by everyone’s favorite former Republican Governor of Massachusetts, Bill We…I mean, Mitt Romney. I was skeptical, as I tend to think of Gawker as sleekly designed National Enquirer.
“Go!” said the fine folks at Gawker. “Go! And analyze these documents and bring us back as much dirt you can find!” An army of business reporters descended on the documents and found…well, not much really.
C’mon. They were documents Bain had provided to their own investors over the last few years. It’s not like they were going to include data that showed Mitt may have broken the law or lied to the American people.
On the other hand…
This from the Huffington Post yesterday…
“As we have said many times before, Governor and Mrs. Romney’s assets are managed on a blind basis. They do not control the investment of these assets. The investment decisions are made by a trustee,” spokeswoman Michele Davis said.
But according to his 2010 tax return, when the Internal Revenue Service comes calling in April, Romney has a different answer: The presumptive GOP nominee reaps lucrative tax breaks for “active” participation in the private equity firm he founded, as well as a host of other investments.
As David Kautter, a tax expert at American University, explains, the concept of active investment has different meanings for the IRS and for regular people. “When you say you’re actively involved in all these businesses, people do think, OK, you’re actively involved. But the tax law has its own definition,” he said.
So, here’s the thing. I don’t think Mitt’s a felon. I really, really don’t. I’m sure he paid the taxes he was legally required to. The problem is twofold: First that the tax system is so jacked up that it allows the kinds of tax ducking Mitt has done over the years to be legal. And, Secondly, he has no problem mischaracterizing (read:lie) his position at Bain to repeatedly dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge the allegations that he was responsible for outsourcing American jobs.
A lot of folks want to call issues like this a distraction, but it’s not and here’s why: Romney says his time at Bain taught him some very good lessons about how to fix the economy. Fine. What kind of lesson did outsourcing jobs teach him? We really deserve answers to that question.
No more dodgeball, Mr. Romney.