Whilie waiting for Mitt Romney to do the right thing and release a decade’s worth of tax returns (as his opponent, Barack Obama, has already done), I’ve been examining the one return that Romney has released–2010’s.In that return, I’ve discovered a few interesting tidbits, including the following:
- Mitt Romney made $22 million in 2010 and only paid $3 million of tax (14%)
- Mitt Romney got A $1.6 million tax refund last year
- The vast majority of Mitt Romney’s recent donations have gone to the Mormon church
- Mitt Romney is a big client of Goldman Sachs
- It’s starting to look like Mitt Romney has a dirty little tax secret
- And so on…
Until now, I had also been mystified by a couple of investments that Romney made that appear throughout the return–investments in funds operated by a firm called “Solamere.”
- Solamere Founders Fund 1, and
- Solamere Founders Fund 1-B
Romney doesn’t make a lot of direct investments–his various funds, trusts, foundations, and Goldman Sachs make the investments for him–so this one was a mystery.
And now that mystery has been solved!
Thanks to this excellent profile of Mitt Romney’s five sons, I’ve discovered that “Solamere” is a hedge fund company operated by Romney’s eldest son, Tagg.
To be clear: Everything seems to be completely above-board here.
If this investment had been made in one of Romney’s “blind trusts,” we might have had a mini-scandal on our hands–because it would be hard to imagine that a “blind trust” would pick these Solamere funds out of all available funds without Romney having some say in the matter (in which case, the trusts wouldn’t be “blind.)
But Romney made this investment directly.
And, incidently, in 2010, at least, he lost money on it–about $40,000.
If Romney had paid Solamere (and, through Solamere, his son Tagg) bazillions of dollars in fees while losing a lot of money, a critic might argue that this was a tax-free gift in disguise and create a scandal that way.
But this seems to be a small investment.
So it appears to be what it appears to be: Romney helping his son launch a hedge fund by investing in it.
And, in 2010, at least, losing money.
* BI editor Joe Weisenthal observes that Amy Davidson of the New Yorker and others have discussed Romney’s investment in Solamere, so this isn’t new news. I’m always the last to know!
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