Romney Offshore

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mitt Romney at a Memorial Day event in San Diego Mitt Romney at a Memorial Day event in San Diego (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Nicholas Shaxson, journalist and author of Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens, talks about his Vanity Fair article examining Mitt Romney's offshore financial dealings.


Nicholas Shaxson

Comments [27]

Steve Howard from NYC

I have heard Mitt Romney state that he paid every dollar he has owed in taxes and "not a penny more".
This leaves the listener thinking that he should not pay any more taxes than necessary, since taxes are the bane of America. Yet, he never states,"not a penny less than owed". I can not help but wonder if, as a religious man, he does not say that because he does not want to tell a non truth about his taxes, when he is, in fact, evading his full
tax nut by keeping these off shore accounts. True, he pays not a penny more than owed, but maybe he pays many pennys less than owed, but does not want to lie, by faith, so emits that side of the coin.

Jul. 11 2012 01:27 AM
Leo from Queens

it's clear from the postings that the Romney campaign sent a lot of trolls here to drown the conversation on the fact that we all should pay our fair share of taxes to provide for the services and protections we expect from government.
None of the Romney lackeys on this thread talk about how we went to war in 2 countries on the CHEAP while giving huge tax breaks to the very wealthy and how REAL COURAGEOUS AMERICANS were killed off like animals because the Republicans were sending them to die on the cheap without any armor protection or the right equipment!. If everyone paid their fair share our taxes would go down. How about shared responsibility. If you guys feel no sense of ownership or allegiance to this country you should probably head out to Bermuda or Liechstenstein!!

Jul. 10 2012 04:31 PM
scott from on vacation

Brian and Producer,

That segment sounded like a super-pac sponsored attack ad on Mitt Romney. There is nothing wrong with trying to legally keep your money out of the hands of our bloated, corrupt, government. Anyone who owns a house, runs a business, or earns more than $30,000.00 per year, should be looking to CPA's and financial planners to help reduce their tax liability. I'm guessing a few of your listeners will agree once they leave home and join the real world.

I was hoping to hear just how much Romney paid into the US tax system, not in percentages, in real dollars. I would also like to see what our other representatives paid in taxes. From the tone of the discussion, I was also expecting to hear the author say that Romney did in fact cheat on his taxes. I did not hear either.

You are fooling yourselves if you even remotely think that you're reporting an unbiased look at Romney.

Jul. 10 2012 03:20 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

Such things as offshore tax havens can be perfectly legal, yet be unethical. For instance, when wealthy power elite and their lobbyists easily (always) gain access to politicians, they can in effect write their own tax law to protect their investments at the expense of the rest of society. One can only carry these types of tax schemes out if you are wealthy, which is fine if unfair.

Certainly, life, capitalism, democracy can be unfair and it's to be expected, but when it comes to potential presidential candidate the questions is this: Do you want to elect a president that _further_ seeks to honor, reward and install unfairness into the system?

Jul. 10 2012 03:07 PM
martin from Queens

Until three years ago, Swiss law protected the privacy of bank clients who failed to report taxable income. High-rollers wishing to stash undeclared and untaxed income could secretly deposit money in Swiss banks, confident that their transactions would be shielded from the eyes of IRS auditors. Their money mingled with that of some of the world's biggest money hiders: guys like Lybia's Muammar Qaddafi, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Haiti’s Jean-Claud Duvalier. Then, under pressure from the United States and other nations, and after Switzerland-based USB paid a $780 million settlement and admitted to defrauding the IRS, Switzerland eliminated some of its tax-haven banking secrecy. That was in 2009. Mitt Romney closed his Swiss bank account a few months later, joining other American high rollers who suddenly began looking elsewhere to park their multi-millions.

Jul. 10 2012 02:33 PM

Maybe Romney will propose Cayman Island special corporations for all American taxpayers -- with being able to afford it being the only criteria.


Yeah, that's the ticket. That'll lead to job creation.

For financial advisers and consigliere-type attorneys....

Jul. 10 2012 12:01 PM

I'm sure whatever Romney has done to limit his tax exposure is, in some way, defensible under the law --or some interpretation of the law which may be unknown heretofore or requires unique and subtle connections to previous case law-- BUT what is extremely clear is that most of us who saved through our 401K's had no way of "smushing" the value of what we put into our retirement accounts so that they could "blossom" and grow tax free and extremely fast inside the account.

We in the workaday world of wages and salaries have only the face value of the US dollar. We cannot play games with the value to keep it under out allowed transfers. Indeed, most of us can barely afford the legal limit of X percent of our salary up to Y amount.

Nor can most of us even think of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island special "corporations." (Is that interestingly named corporation a "person" too? or are only US corporations "persons"?) Nor can we even afford the special advisers and lawyers necessary to set up such things.

The rich are different from you and me -- and the UberWealthy are very, very different.

It's hard to imagine Romney being able in any meaningful way to be inclined to govern in ways that would enhance the well-being of the lower economic quintiles, but I think he would be extremely sharp at protecting the wealth of people like him, the Tippy Top of the One Percenters.

I recall that when I spent a graduate summer in England I opened a bank account in London, Barclay's, iirc. I also had run out of time to close it when I returned to the US for fall term. I recall thinking I might be able to return to England and considered leaving it intact, but I had to close it, since having any foreign interest, I was told, could open me up to an IRS investigation.

Alas, I never had the money again to return -- nor will I after the Big Meltdown, downsizing, paying for individual health insurance....unless I win the lottery on a huge payout.

Jul. 10 2012 11:54 AM
Stephen from Bayville

hello -

The caller from Massapequa has completely missed the point. Yes, he was correct that Caymans are required to report interest on personal accounts. HOWEVER, the paper trail stops there. Monies wired into that account which come from CORPORATE accounts in the name of anonymous LLCs have NO reporting requirements!!!! It depends on the country you go to because each country has to have stipulated tax and banking treaties with the U.S. The Caymans is convenient, b/z corporate LLCs can invest in other offshore shells, trade stocks, derivatives, etc. and it's 100% tax-free, and the LLC officers are anonymous! There is no paper trail whence the monies come. Once they are in Romney's personal Caymans account, fine. The U.S. Dept of Justice can't even subpoena the Caymans for corporate information - it will be ignored, b/z there's no banking and/or tax treaty on corporate accounts.

Jul. 10 2012 11:43 AM
marco from manhattan

I'm no fan of Romney, but this discussion of his wealth is a distraction. Romney was governor of Massachusetts and presumably was vetted at that time as well. Can't blame President Obama and his acolytes from Goldman-Sachs for not wanting to talk about their economic incompetence.

Jul. 10 2012 11:38 AM
Max from NJ suburbs

I do not have the case reference, but The United States Supreme Court has ruled that taxpayers may arrange their finances in any legal way to minimize their tax liability.

Jul. 10 2012 11:33 AM
chris from ny, ny

if keeping money in a bank account in the cayman islands is the same as keeping that money in a u.s.-based bank, why even bother?

Jul. 10 2012 11:32 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Hmmm.. Gary, Romney's republican colleagues bought all this up in the primaries...fairly or not - it's all politics. For you to counter with Obama possibly being a secret Marxist, is laughable.

Jul. 10 2012 11:30 AM
Peter Williamson

If Romney really cares about America he should just step aside and let his accountant stand for POTUS - think what such high-end financial jiggery-pokery could do for the US economy.

Jul. 10 2012 11:29 AM
Simon from Manhattan

I am a democrat but this segment leaves me feeling as if this is yet a whisper campaign. You have nothing yet proven. Do your work, get your facts, then report. Right now this feels wrong to me.

Jul. 10 2012 11:24 AM
g in staten island from staten island

How about a blind trust becoming a "double blind trust" for Rommney and others. Double blind like is done in good medical research. Perhaps a court should appoint the person who does the investing--and Romney doesn't know who he/she is. No appearance of impropriaty as in when Romney personnaly knows the person running his trust

Jul. 10 2012 11:20 AM
gary from queens

when you introduce yourself as a "republican", then talk like a liberal, you are doing a few things:

1. you seek facile legitimacy for your opinion.

2. no one really knows you are telling the truth, because it's become a common "seminar caller" technique. Just watch CSPAN to see how they do it.

3. you think your opinions should be accepted as given, because it goes against your party.

4. and you think your comment can prevail because of that, absent of evidence to support it.

Too bad the liberals on this list harrass those who post links to support their comments. But i suspect you're too lazy to do the research anyway.

Jul. 10 2012 11:20 AM
Karen from NYC

I'm sorry that I can't stick around to hear the answer to my question -- have a meeting -- but:

How do you end up with $20,000,000 plus in an IRA???

Jul. 10 2012 11:17 AM
The Truth from Becky

...and this is your guy, this is who you want in the white house eh? Here is a preview.

Jul. 10 2012 11:14 AM

This just out-
"Mitt Romney On Offshore Investments: 'I Don't Even Know Where They Are' "

Google it.

Jul. 10 2012 11:09 AM

It's really hard to run with "Believe in America" as your campaign slogan with so much money offshore.

Maybe he should "repatriate" it.

Jul. 10 2012 11:07 AM
gary from queens

I doubt whatever Romney says about his investments will matter. He's been slow on the draw anyway, and the media is helping Obama.

Last week, Obama's team charged that Romney was the most secretive executive since Nixon.

And the Romney response was virtual silence. crickets chirping. Really, whatever Romney had used as a reply was so weak as to be utterly forgetful. so dont ask me what it was.

But a perfect reply should have been prepared a year ago! We have never had a president that has denied access to his kindergarten records on up. College papers. who sponsored or endorsed his applications to the colleges he attended. who his associates are. Being a member of the Communist New Party. etc.

And not one academic paper published, despite him being touted as a constitutional scholar. Don't ask me how one manages that. maybe you have to be one-half black or one-fortieth Cherokee?

A man who FALSELY claims that his mom died prematurely because her health insurance company (Signa) denied her coverage should have had his dead handed to him that day after he attacked romney on secrecy.

What happened? wasn't Romney the one who was quick to counter attack? Not no mow. Not since the Bush people joined his staff.

Jul. 10 2012 10:16 AM

We haven't removed or edited any comments, but please remember the WNYC posting policy which asks you to be civil, refrain from personal attacks, and keep your conversation relevant to the discussion taking place on air. (Which, incidentally, begins at 11am)
-BL Show Moderator-

Jul. 10 2012 08:33 AM
John from office

Martins, whats with the name?? Martin Chuzzlewit ??

Are you a Dickens character or are you haiding behind the name.

Jul. 10 2012 08:31 AM
john from office

I identify myself because people like Ed think only certain "types" voted for Obama and I am tired of the baseless attacks on the man. I am tired of the Rightwing nuts and the party is not the same. That is why many rational Republicans sat this one out.

Martin, why the peraonal attack, you dont get any at home??

Jul. 10 2012 08:22 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

john from office-

Enough already with your repetitive posting of "I'm a Republican, but....."
It's tedious. We get it. With Republicans like you, who needs brainless Lefties?

I'm actually a registered Democrat, but I don't flout it here as if it has some deep mystical meaning for 2012. (It's not as if it means's not the same party that I joined many years ago.) You are delusional if you think that your semi-clever lumping of candidates will convince anyone that Romney is a Santorum-like wild eyed Right Wing Nut. Maybe just the Lefties here who already want to think that. It's not necessary to pander to the Lefties here, they are not going to like you anyway.

And, frankly, your schtick is getting embarrassing.

Yo, I'm just sayin'.

Jul. 10 2012 08:13 AM
john from office

Ed, I am a republican, worked for Reagan, Bush 1 and 2, Mcain and Rudy for Mayor. You cannot tell me that you are happy with the field offered to our voters, Perry, Santorum,Trump, Newt?? Now we have Mitt, but which Mitt??The Mitt that was for Obamacare before he was against it, the Mitt who was pro choice before he was against it. This candidate is a dangerous man, becuase we dont know who he is and he is basically saying TRUST ME.

Obama has been a good President, held back by a Congress that has blocked him in every way, especally when it comes to job creation. Sorry, that was the plan, kill the economy so Obama would lose. I am ashamed of my party. From the Birther "issue" to the eating dog story, it has been shameful.

Jul. 10 2012 07:18 AM
Ed from Larchmont

How much does the Obama campaign pay NYC each month?

Jul. 10 2012 06:02 AM

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