Update: Returns reveal Romney’s foreign holdings
The Romney campaign said Friday that Mitt and Ann Romney paid an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent in 2011, and promised to published the complete return online by 3 p.m. eastern.
A post to the campaign’s website explained that the rate would have been much lower had Romney not chosen to limit his deductions from their charitable giving. The campaign claimed Romney donated more than $4 million to charitable groups — about 30 percent of his income — but only deducted $2.25 million.
“The Romneys’ generous charitable donations in 2011 would have significantly reduced their tax obligation for the year,” a Romney financial adviser explained on the campaign’s website. “The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor’s statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.”
For the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign to claim he actually over-paid on his taxes last year represents a striking about-face for Romney, who told supporters in July: “I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president.”
Interestingly, Romney also said in January that his 2011 tax rate would be about 15.4 percent: a full 1.3 percent more than what he now claims to have actually shelled out.
A summary of Romney’s 20-year tax history was also said to be included in Friday’s planned document drop. The campaign said the summary, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, would show that Romney paid an effective tax rate of 20.2 percent. Tax returns to support that claim, however, were not to be included in the release.
Romney has faced significant criticism throughout the presidential campaign for refusing to release his tax returns. Presidential candidates have traditionally released at least a decade of details on their financial history, although Romney’s father went even further by releasing 12 years worth.
Before Friday, the younger Romney had only released one tax return, revealing that he has holdings in foreign corporations and paid a tax rate of just 13.9 percent in 2010 — a rate that’s actually lower than billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who paid 17.4 percent in 2011. Buffett supports President Barack Obama, who’s proposed raising tax rates on wealthy Americans to levels that are more equitable with people in the poor and middle classes.
Responding to criticism over his tax returns at a rally in South Carolina last month, Romney said he felt the American public’s “fascination” with his refusal to disclose his financial history is “very small minded compared to the broad issues that we face.” Romney went on to insist that he paid “at least 13 percent” in taxes every year, adding: “If you add in addition the amount that goes to charity [at the Mormon church], well, the number gets well above 20 percent.”
Update: Returns reveal Romney’s foreign holdings
In tax return documents regarding “information return by a shareholder of a passive foreign investment company,” Mitt Romney’s foreign holdings are laid bare. Pages 42-275 of their 379-page tax return shows that the Ann & Mitt Romney 1995 Family Trust has extensive foreign holdings across the globe, and paid $83,853 in foreign taxes last year.
Documents showed that most of Romney’s foreign investments in 2011 were in the Cayman Islands, the Netherlands and Ireland, all of which are notorious tax shelters. Interestingly, all of those countries are commonly used as part of a tax evasion scheme known to investors as the “Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich,” explained by a slightly complicated infographic published last April by The New York Times.
It’s not clear if that’s what Romney’s trust is doing as well, although the holdings suggest it is possible. The trust also had investments in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, Australia and Bermuda. The Romneys insist their money is held in a blind trust that they have no control over. However, the trustee Romney appointed to run his accounts is his personal lawyer and longtime friend.
Campaigning against the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) in 1994, Romney criticized the senator for pointing to his own blind trust when his investments came under rhetorical fire. “The blind trust is an age old ruse,” Romney said. “Which is to say, you can always tell a blind trust what it can and cannot do. You give a blind trust rules.”
Read Ann and Mitt Romney’s 2011 tax return, embedded below…
Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’
On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.
As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.
Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:
1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."
Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR
British PM candidates clash over Brexit as Boris Johnson skips debate
Candidates to become Britain's next prime minister clashed over Brexit strategy at their first debate on Sunday but the frontrunner, Boris Johnson, dodged the confrontation.
The 90-minute debate on Channel 4 featured the five remaining candidates and an empty podium for Johnson, the gaffe-prone former foreign secretary and former mayor of London.
In sometimes ill-tempered exchanges, four of the five candidates said they would seek to renegotiate the draft Brexit divorce deal agreed with Brussels even though EU leaders have repeatedly ruled this out.
Michael Cohen ordered back to Congress on March 6
President Donald Trump's so-called "fixer" is being asked to return to Congress for more questioning on March 6.
Outside of the closed-door committee hearing Thursday, Cohen said that the House Intelligence Committee is seeking further information, according to Washington Examiner writer Byron York.
Michael Cohen finished closed-door testimony before House Intel Committee, says he's coming back for another session March 6. Again: No reason for secrecy. Transcripts should be released ASAP.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 28, 2019