A coalition of community, labor and good government organizations is calling on the U.S. Office of Government Ethics to investigate presidential candidate Mitt Romney for noncompliance with the Ethics in Government Act and compel him to either disclose his investments or divest them.
A letter sent today to Don W. Fox, general counsel of the Office of Government Ethics, states that Gov. Romney “has not even attempted to meet the requirements for a federal blind trust with respect to his substantial equity holdings. The only way for this law to be enforced in a meaningful way is for your Office to act promptly to demand that candidate Romney disclose his stock holdings, or divest them if disclosure is not feasible.”
The letter was sent by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, People for the American Way, Public Campaign, Public Citizen, SEIU, UAW and The Social Equity Group, and it follows up on a previous letter sent to the Office of Government Ethics on Aug. 23, 2012, that urged the office to act.
“The American people have a right to know about Governor Romney’s potential conflicts of interest, such as the profits his family made from the auto rescue,” said UAW President Bob King. “It’s time for Governor Romney to disclose or divest.
“The company Romney founded, Bain Capital, continues to devastate American workers and communities by closing profitable U.S. facilities and shifting work to China to make even more profits. A current example happening today is Bain closing a profitable Sensata plant in Freeport, Ill. While Romney was opposing the rescue of one of the nation’s most important manufacturing sectors, he was building his fortunes with his Delphi investor group, making his fortunes off the misfortunes of others. These are all examples of the Romney economy we can expect if Romney becomes president,” King added.
“When I first hired in everything was going well,” said Heath Lindsay, a former Delphi worker from Dayton. “I bought a home, got married, and had a child. When the bankruptcy happened, my pay was cut in half and we lost our home to foreclosure. My pension was terminated in 2007 and was turned over to the PGBC [Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation]. I am eligible for a 401(k), but I can’t afford to contribute to it. When my wages were good, we could get by but I am the sole provider for my wife and kids and life is a lot harder now,” Lindsay added.
The groups believe that Romney’s undisclosed stock holdings create serious conflicts of interest. They point to the auto loans as a key example. The Nation recently reported that the Romney family personally profited by at least $15.3 million from the auto loans of 2009. Yet Romney’s June 1, 2012, Public Financial Disclosure Report to the Office of Government Ethics did not reveal this windfall because he did not disclose the underlying holdings of his private equity and limited partnership funds.
Romney profited from his family’s investment in Delphi Corp. at the expense of the Delphi workers. Other unreported investments that could create conflicts of interest include controversial holdings in Sensata and Global-Tech.
“Mitt Romney is hiding his investments because he doesn’t want the American people to know what a Romney Economy would look like,” said Tom Woodruff, executive vice president of SEIU. “Governor Romney has invested in companies that outsource good jobs to China and cut wages, benefits and pensions for workers here in America. The American people need to know how many other companies like Sensata, Global Tech, and Delphi Governor Romney has invested in.”
With the presidential election a few days away, the letter urges the Office of Government Ethics to “act now to ensure Mitt Romney is in full compliance with the law’s disclosure requirements so that the public has the necessary information to evaluate candidate Romney’s position on matters in which he stands to benefit personally should his legislative agenda become law. “