Romney Won't Say Where His Money Is

Confidentiality agreement allows him to keep Bain holdings vague

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 6, 2012 8:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – What companies is Mitt Romney invested in? Your guess is as good as the Office of Government Ethic's. Romney's money is largely parked in 48 Bain Capital accounts, and because those accounts are all protected by confidentiality agreements, he's not required to disclose any of their underlying assets, the Washington Post reports. While the approach appears to be legal, it makes it impossible to know what conflicts of interest Romney might have if elected.

"His approach turns the whole purpose of the ethics statute on its ear," says one Republican lawyer who has represented Rick Santorum. The loophole Romney is using was ironically pioneered by John Kerry, whose wife has a confidentiality agreement-protected account with—you guessed it—Bain Capital. But the Bain fund represents a much larger part of Romney's holdings. And while other nominees are required to divest undisclosed assets when they get into office, that rule doesn't apply to presidents.

US Repulican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the Newspaper Association of America in Washington, DC, April 4, 2012.   (Getty Images/AFP)
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I have never seen anything like this. Romney’s approach frustrates the very purpose of the ethics and disclosure laws. - Joe Sandler, Democratic Party lawyer specializing in disclosure

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