Obama officials questioned why the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has kept his extensive investments in a blind trust instead of setting up a trust that meets federal conflict-of-interest standards.
“Romney has claimed that his investments were in a blind trust which was managed by his personal attorney. This gave him the appearance of keeping his investments at arms’ length,” Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt asserted today during a conference call with reporters.
“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 added.
The Obama campaign periodically raises doubts considering Romney’s wealth, which is estimated about $250 million, to try to make the case that he is out of touch with the concerns of most Americans.
“It raises a host of questions of why it is that he will not abide by more rigorous standards,” Obama general counsel Robert Bauer said.
The Romney campaign dismissed the questions following the Obama campaign’s try to change the subject after a string of bad news in recent days, reports Reuters.
The Republican candidate has pulled virtually even with Obama in several polls, raised more campaign cash than the president’s team did in May, and has new hope of a strong showing in Wisconsin, where Republican Governor Scott Walker has been recently reelected.
“Another day, another tired distraction by the Obama campaign, which is frantic to avoid discussing the continued rejection of President Obama’s agenda by the electorate and by members of his own party,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.
“As has been reported for years, Governor and Mrs. Romney’s assets are managed on a blind basis,” Saul added. “They do not control the investment of these assets, which are under the control and overall management of a trustee.”
Romney spokesperson Amanda Henneberg described the Obama campaign’s accusations as “another tired distraction by the Obama campaign.”
“As has been reported for years, 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,” Henneberg said in a written statement.
MSN writes that Barack Obama never had a federal blind trust as he had liquidated all of the stocks he previously held in a regular blind trust during holding a post of a U.S Senator.
A New York Times article from March 2007 quoted then-candidate Obama saying that he had done so because, “I became concerned that I might not be able to insulate myself from knowledge of my holdings, that this trust instrument wasn’t working the way I wanted it to.”
President Obama never had a federal blind trust, his campaign said, because he had liquidated all of the stocks he previously held in a regular blind trust when he was a U.S Senator.
The article also reads that before he arrived in the Senate in January 2005, Obama signed a $1.9 million book deal. He established a quasi-blind trust rather than a standard blind trust to avoid investing in companies he did not wish to be associated with.
“I determined that based on the traditional notions of how you should invest — although traditionally I haven’t had a lot of money to invest — that some of it we could put into something more high risk at least for a while,” Obama said.
“I asked a friend of mine, George Haywood, for the recommendation of a stockbroker,” he added.