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Romney’s emerging secrecy problem

Romney’s emerging secrecy problem

Mitt Romney has an emerging secrecy problem.  For someone whose primary claim to the nomination is that he has nothing to hide, he sure acts like he has something to hide.

First, there was the cleansing of Massachusetts state records from his time as Governor, including the purchase by 11 Romney aides of their hard drives upon leaving office and the purging of state computers.  None of this apparently was illegal, but it certainly raised questions about why Romney went to such lengths.

Next, Romney declared that if nominated he would break with tradition and refuse to release his income tax returns, raising a number of questions as to what was on the returns that he would not want public, and playing right into the hands of the Obama campaign:

“Why does Governor Romney feel like he can play by a different set of rules?” said  Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign. “What is it that he doesn’t want the American people to see? Governor Romney, who has favored secrecy over openness time after time, should live up to the same standard of disclosure his father and others set.”

Next, there was Romney’s refusal to release the names of bundlers playing right into the hands of The Washington Post editorial board:

Mr. Romney — breaking with the practice of previous Republican presidential candidates, including George W. Bush and John McCain — has refused to release the identities of his bundlers, the well-connected fundraisers who help the campaign haul in stacks of checks adding up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mr. Romney is under no legal obligation to reveal his bundlers, other than the relative handful who are also registered lobbyists.

As important as the state records, tax returns and bundler information are, there was an unnoticed report in The Telegraph which revealed an almost bizarre effort by the Romney campaign to conceal even mundane aspects of Romney’s narrative.  Part of that narrative is of a time spent in relative poverty while a missionary in France.

When the Telegraph investigated, they not only discovered that Romney did not exactly live the poor life, but also that Romney aides had been there before them, instructing at least one of the people who was with Romney in France not to talk, Mitt Romney’s life as a poor Mormon missionary in France questioned (emphasis mine):

Although he spent time in other French cities, for most of 1968, Mr Romney  lived in the Mission Home, a 19th century neoclassical building in the French capital’s chic 16th arrondissement. “It was a house built by and for   rich people,” said Richard Anderson, the son of the mission president at the time of Mr Romney’s stay. “I would describe it as a palace”.

Tearful as he described the house, Mr Anderson, 70, of Kaysville, Utah, said  Romney aides had asked him not to speak publicly about their time together there.

That the Romney campaign had anticipated questions about Romney’s missionary narrative and already reached out to a witness asking him not to talk about it publicly is troubling.  Frankly, it’s the type of preemptive silencing of witnesses I would have expected of the Obama campaign regarding Obama’s college days.

Reaching out to witnesses and asking them not to talk about a candidate’s past is one of those details which makes one wonder why someone who has nothing to hide is acting like he has something to hide.


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Funny thing, I went to to check Newt’s bundlers. Surprise, surprise, nothing there either. But hey no need to post on his secrecy right?

    L.N. Smithee in reply to Zaggs. | December 27, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    “Why does Governor Romney feel like he can play by a different set of rules?” said Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign. “What is it that he doesn’t want the American people to see? Governor Romney, who has favored secrecy over openness time after time, should live up to the same standard of disclosure his father and others set.”

    Uh huh. OK, kiddies, time for another example of how the BHO campaign did and will continue to rely on the MSM to cover its sassafras. Flashback four years to November 9, 2007, as then-Senator Obama was campaigning in Iowa, as chronicled by Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet (bold mine):

    JOHNSTON, IA.—White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)—whose staff has been deflecting questions about the whereabouts of his state senate papers–said Friday he was not certain whether they still exist.

    Obama made the comment after I asked him, “Where is the stuff?”

    The context for pressing Obama on his state papers is this: He is campaigning as a champion of government transparency and slamming chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) for not pushing the Clinton Library in Arkansas to speed up the release of papers from her tenure as First Lady.

    At a press conference, I asked Obama, “Do your state senate papers still exist? If they do, just where are they? And would you ever intend to make them public to be responsive to some requests?

    “Nobody has requested specific documents,” Obama said.

    However, the Chicago Tribune reported it has asked for documents from Obama’s Springfield years and never received a response. The Chicago Sun-Times has also been asking about Obama’s papers. Records from Obama’s office—if he kept them—would potentially show appointments with lobbyists, policy memos, meetings, etc., items the state would not have. Obama has no legal obligation to archive his state papers.

    “I was in the state senate for eight years,” Obama said. “I had one staff person, that was what was allocated. I don’t have archivists in the state senate. I don’t have the Barack Obama state senate library available to me, so we had a bunch of file cabinets. I do not have a whole bunch of records from those years. Now, if there are particular documents that you are interested in, then you should let us know.”

    I said my question was not about specific records. “When the office was packed up, where is the stuff.?

    “You know I’m not certain, Lynn,” Obama said. “As I said, I didn’t have the resources to ensure that all this stuff was archived in some way…. it could have been thrown out.”

    In the original online version of this story, there was a link to video of this exchange as posted on a now-defunct Iowa 2008 blog maintained by Fox News’ Carl Cameron. FNC has that video somewhere in its archives, but it seems I’m one of the few who remember this incident.

      Gee, we got the birth certificate, but it was like pulling teeth. There still is a long list of items that Barack Obama has managed to keep from an inquisitive press.

      No one has laid eyes on Obama’s college transcripts but I’ll bet they’re littered with I’s for Incomplete .. or “P” for Pres**ent.

Why is any of this surprising? Candidates are increasingly attempting to erase their past. The MSM refuses to vet progressive politicians while blatantly lying and distorting facts about GOP candidates.

Of course, I decided years ago that I would never vote for Romney or Cain or another RINO candidate for that matter. Learning that Romney is just another typical, lying politician is hardly news…

    WarEagle82 in reply to WarEagle82. | December 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Make that “I would never vote for Romney or McCain or another RINO candidate for that matter.”

    I was quite enthusiastic about Cain earlier this year…

I’m not sure this rises to the level of Obama-style secrecy. It seems to me to be more clintonian.

Or maybe it’s just the level of thorough preparation you can expect from someone who has been a professional presidential candidate for most of a decade.

Romney’s campaign needs to get out in front of the secrecy issue. EVERY TIME they are asked to provide something not required by law, they need to hammer home that Obama has not provided the records of either his State Senate work nor his college transcripts or his law school transcripts and writings.

Romney’s campaign response should be:

“We’ll be happy to provide all that information once we see President Obama’s law school writings and educational transcripts. I’m sure that Obama has nothing to hide there either, but if they want non-public information from us, they need pony up the non-public information they’ve been hiding from the American People for the last 4 years.”

End of sentence. If pressed, IGNORE THE QUESTION ENTIRELY if in a group setting, and if one-on-one ATTACK the questioner as to why they haven’t been able to get Obama’s non-public records after 4 years, and yet they’re asking for Romney’s records as a clear showing of bias.

Those pushing the “lied about his Mormon mission” line have no idea what they’re talking about. I’ve been there. Mormon missionaries are moved every 3-6 months, and the quality of apartments you get to live in varies greatly. I lived in everything from roach-and-flea-invested dives to pretty nice digs when I was working, as Romney did, in the Mission Office. So while he might have had a nice place to sleep for the last part of his mission, that says nothing about his statement being less than true.

As for buying hard drives and asking old friends to not discuss things with the press — is that really sinister, or is just good management considering how hostile the press will be to whomever we nominate?

Romney isn’t my ideal candidate. The guy I wanted didn’t even run. But I’ll settle for anyone who can beat (and will be better than) Obama. I don’t think there’s much difference between Newt and Romney in terms of who’s most conservative. The real question seems to be who’s most likely to beat Obama, and I know opinions differ on that. But that’s the *only* real question — for either of these guys to be trying to paint the other as not-conservative-enough is completely laughable.

I’ve liked and followed this site for a couple years now. But the constant anti-Romney drumbeat that’s been developing here (along with a soft-headed willingness to buy into anything that reflects poorly on Romney) is wearing very thin.

    janitor in reply to markn. | December 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    What guy did you want?

    William A. Jacobson in reply to markn. | December 27, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    “the constant anti-Romney drumbeat that’s been developing here (along with a soft-headed willingness to buy into anything that reflects poorly on Romney) is wearing very thin” — I guess that’s the risk I run for not jumping on the bandwagon and asking the questions none of the mainstream conservative media ask of Romney. The worst thing we can do is what we are doing, not vetting Romney while tearing every other candidate apart. It will come back to bite us.

    (added) Windbag in the Tip Line left this tip: ”
    Bain getting some attention finally.” — it’s the type of thing what WE should be vetting, not leaving it to the media; that’s not an anti-Romney drumbeat, it’s just making sure there are no surprises in the general election.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to markn. | December 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    For the truly good candidate, scrutiny is not a problem and can even be an asset, revealing appealing qualities about a candidate. The problem has not been too much scrutiny, but rather not enough. Every candidate needs a turn in the barrel. Few are scrutinizing Romney and complaints ring hollow.

More and more it appears that the MSM has replaced the electoral college.

I think this is a non-issue. No one would want to release their tax returns and make the public, the information used therein would only be used to attack oneself. They are asking Romney to help attack himself. Who in their right mind would agree to that? Even if it doesn’t contain anything even by the highest ethic standards, let alone legally wrong anything could be twisted or misquoted by a dishonest opponent or his backers. Just look at what they continue to do to Newt.

Now I still do not support Romney, he will destroy our party just like McCain would have. And its important to have our party because its the only thing between the democrats and a complete breakdown of civilization. The democrats literally measure success by how screwed up they make society. Now we are on the edge of complete financial collapse, but if the right person isn’t there to guide us there, then all is lost. Romney might as well be Obama. So whats the point of voting for someone who destroy our party to do anything to be elected?

Does anybody wonder where the good candidates are? One of them might have been with me in 1968 getting caught on the school roof looking for super balls. Some MSM schmuck would dig it out. Then they’d find out that Bob asked me to not talk to the press so that the distractions could simply die out. Horrors! A cover up!

No, I’m not a Romney fan. I lived under that creep as governor and would never voluntarily vote for him. The point is, when does the digging end and the substance begin?

    imfine in reply to JerryB. | December 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Substance is the enemy of media. Its destroys the media’s ability to shape perception. If Gingrich is not the nominee I do not expect another substantive debate in my lifetime.

      JerryB in reply to imfine. | December 27, 2011 at 6:10 pm

      You could be right about that. I appreciate how well Newt frames issues. I’m still low on the trust factor, though. Call me the second wife. We must make sure to gain the Senate, and with many Tea Party types. Checks and balances – and insurance, too.

Sounds like Romney is working off the Obama campaign playbook. Does he really think the media will fall over themselves not asking the right questions.

Only a liberal candidate would think this.

BannedbytheGuardian | December 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm

That sort of intense examination of Governor business & all things ethical is reserved for Sarah .

She OWNS it.

One newspaper hired a top forensic team who concluded that Alaska did a 100% thorough redaction . Not one cross reference was discovered amongst 24,000 emails.

TeaPartyPatriot4ever | December 27, 2011 at 9:58 pm

The Truth about Romney

Romney is a pathetic weasel of a man, who couldn’t stand up and fight, to save his pathetic disgusting crony liberal Republican RINO hypocrite life.  He reminds me of these kids who are afraid to stand and fight, so they would throw rocks, call names from afar, then runaway when chased after..  That’s exactly how Romney behaves.. He’s spineless political coward, on top of being a crony capitalist liberal Republican Party RINO lying hypocrite elitist, who like most of the standard liberal Republican Party elitists, neither have any respect for the mass populace called the people, except as the voting electorate, and the U.S. Constitution, and it’s principles of individual freedom and liberty, for which the founding fathers created this great nation and document.

Romney’s great character is standing on a fence, so he can turn on a dime, like a wind directional finder, whenever a position needs to be flip-flopped on, for political convenience, and his infamous crony capitalism, in his claims of job creation, and especially his liberal forced mandated State Socialized Medicine healthcare system, aka, Romneycare, the model for Obamacare, as his e-mail records as Gov. of Mass., would have proven his guilt, until he had them all deleted.

Romney’s signature accomplishment is Romneycare, the forced mandated State Socialized Medicine healthcare system, that Obama used to set up Obamacare with, for which we now have to wait til the U.S. Supreme Court strikes it down, or we have to completely repeal it legislatively, when the new Republican President takes over in Jan 2013. And thus is the question, how can, or would we trust Romney to repeal a system for which he set up in Mass, and refuses to say was bad, and is bankrupting the State, with State Tax payer govt subsidies to the healthcare providers, hospitals, insurance companies, and so on, all the while providing substandard and inferior healthcare, to it’s State residents because of it..

This on top of all the other corny capitalist gimmicks, that Romney screwed around with in his State of Mass, which is why he had all of his Gov’s office e-mails deleted before he left office, as well as deny anyone access to his records. And now of course, he refuses to release his tax returns records, what else is new with this weasel of a political coward, called Mitt Romney..


Romney’s Cronyism Problem is Emblematic of Contemporary Politics
by Benjamin Domenech Published: 7:12 PM 12/16/2011, The Daily Caller-Managing Editor, Health Care News


“Cronyism.” That word has been thrown around a great deal in the Republican primary battle. It’s bad when it’s done to lure companies to locate in a particular state, or to reward a political ally, but it’s worse when it’s used to increase government intrusion into people’s lives.

That’s what happened when former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney pressed to get support for his health care reform, the widely acknowledged model for Obamacare.

The back story here is little known, but very damning. According to a 2008 report by the Heritage Foundation, at the time of Romneycare’s passage the two largest safety-net hospital systems in Massachusetts — Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) — had “become dependent on direct subsidies” and were concerned that, even accounting for the significant rate increases allowed under the new law, a shift to Medicaid managed care would hurt their bottom lines.

So to get his signature health care law passed, Romney and his allies agreed to a host of annual payments — including “MCO supplemental payments,” “disproportionate share hospital” payments and special “hospital supplemental payments,” targeted exclusively for the two systems.

At the last minute, more than $540 million in so-called “Section 122 payments” were inserted into the law, designed to supply BMC and CHA with an even bigger financial cushion over the next three years. In practice, these funds — which included federal, state and local taxpayer money — served as direct subsidies for the two providers’ expansions.

According to MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, one of the designers of Romney’s law and one of the experts who consulted with the White House on Obamacare, “The federal government was essentially supplementing the expansion of these inner city hospitals.” When some lawmakers suggested cutting back on the amounts, provider officials complained about all the great programs they’d have to shut down — such as BMC’s “food pantry.”

The irony is that the corporate cronyism it took to get Romney’s law passed proved its financial undoing, at least in the short term. As it turned out, the cost of these subsidies made the difference for Romneycare’s dubious financial stability.

Facing higher than expected enrollment, the Section 122 payments forced Massachusetts to prioritize more money for the required earmarks to BMC and CHA — money that might otherwise have been used to cover costs of patient care. According to the Heritage Foundation, in 2008 “Section 122 payments come to $180 million, while Commonwealth Care overruns are $153 million. … In effect, the state was subsidizing institutions, not patients.”


On candidate secrecy, i can not fault them because of so called opposition research it seems that any thing you release can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion.