The buzz of the internet at the moment is the 950-page document dump posted by John Cook of Gawker about the PE funds and hedge funds that Mitt Romney is invested in.Mitt Romney’s finances (especially his taxes) are the subject of mystery and intrigue, so naturally, people are poring over the documents closely, hoping to glean more insights into the fabulously rich investor who has a good chance of being the next President.
But it appears that folks looking for a bombshell are going to be disappointed. Even the sub-stories that Cook pulled are less than meets the eye.
For example, there’s a story titled Mitt Romney Is The National Enquirer’s Banker.
The gist? One of Mitt Romney’s funds called Sankaty High Yield Partners II LP (which is Bain-affiliated) owns a $4 million loan to American Media Inc., which is the company that owns the National Enquirer.
Even if you can stretch this into Romney being a “banker” to American Media, it’s not even new news.
Here’s an SEC filing from 2006 talking about Sankaty’s loan to American Media.
Here are two screenshots from this public report that show the connection between American Media and Sankaty
Let’s go on.
Derivatives, Short Sales, and Mitt Romney’s Other Exotic Financial Instruments
The gist? Funds that Romney has invested in have traded credit default swaps and shorted companies (two of the most vilified forms of trading that there are).
But you didn’t need internal documents to know this.
Here’s a job ad from Sankaty Advisors from this year…
Another sub-story is titled:
How Mitt Romney Puts His Money Where Obama’s Mouth Is
The story there is that some of the companies in these funds were worried about gridlock and too much austerity. That’s pretty standard company warning stuff.
The part that looks most directly bad as it really pertains to Romney is that the documents also describe how the Cayman Islands are used to reduce investor tax burdens.
This might make Americans squeamish, but it’s not a revelation that was unique to these documents.. Vanity Fair just did a big report on how all this works.
One last one: There’s a story called Mitt Romney’s Endless Retirement, which points out that one of Romney’s investments came into being as part of his Bain retirement package, and yet that fund wasn’t established until 2002, 3 years after he said he left the company.
That sounds scandalous, but this 3 year gap was explaiend by former Bain Partner Ed Conard on the show Up With Chris Hayes, earlier this summer.
“He’d created a lot of franchise value, and we were going to pay him for that,” Conard said, adding: “We had a very complicated set of negotiations that took us about two years for us to unwind. During that time a management committee ran the firm, and we could hardly get Mitt to come back to negotiate the terms of his departure because he was working so hard on the Olympics.”
Asked if Romney was driving a hard bargain during the negotiations, Conard said, “In part, yes, of course.” Romney legally remained the CEO and sole owner of Bain Capital until 2002, Conard added, because he was intensively negotiating his exit deal with the partners at the firm. Conard summed up Romney’s position this way: “‘I created an incredibly valuable firm that’s making all you guys rich. You owe me.’ That’s the negotiation.”
So Romney left in 1999, but spent 3 years negotiating his retirement package, which makes it easy to understand why he’d have an investment in a fund that started in 2002 as part of his retirement package.
It’s always cool to see original documents, and if we had come across all these, we would have published them too, but if you’re looking for a big revelation about Romney’s money, this isn’t the place to look.
The big mystery that everyone wants to know about (Romney’s taxes) remains a mystery.
You can check them all out here.
Watch: Paul Ryan Could Make Or Break Romney’s Bid For The Presidency
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