Mitt Romney touts his role in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics as proof that he knows how to lead. To vouch for his “turnaround,” Romney promised to deliver a public archive—“billed as an unvarnished documentary of the Salt Lake City Olympics—from bid scandal to closing ceremony.” And yet, 10 years later, the records have still not been made available.
In fact, according to a report from the Boston Globe, “archivists now say most key records about the Games’ internal workings were destroyed under the supervision of a staff member shortly after the flame was extinguished at Olympic Cauldron Park.”
It is not the least bit surprising that Romney’s pledges ring hollow. He is currently the first nominee in more than 30 years to release only one full year of tax returns—defying even his own father’s rule on the importance of being open with the public. As Obama for America Senior Strategist David Axelrod noted, Romney may be the most secretive candidate America’s seen since Richard Nixon.
A quick survey of Romney’s pattern of secrecy reveals the many ways Romney has failed to live up to an acceptable standard of transparency for a presidential candidate:
Refuses to release more of his tax returns, having released only one full tax return “after facing pressure to do so.” And the tax return he chose to release is “from a year in which he was running for president for a second time.”
Failed to disclose his Swiss bank account on his personal financial disclosure form, an account that held $3 million until he closed it before launching his bid for the presidency.
Failed to disclose the Bermuda corporation he owned for nearly 15 years, depriving the public of “an accurate depiction of his wealth and a clear understanding of how his assets are handled and taxed.”
Removed computer hard drives from the Massachusetts governor’s office, spending $100,000 in taxpayer money to replace the computers in his office as “part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret.”
Refuses to list any of the names of his campaign bundlers—a move that “prevents voters from knowing who wields influence inside the GOP frontrunner’s campaign and how their interests might benefit if he is elected.“Yet Romney himself said in his book that “contributions do in fact play an even greater role in influencing policy.” [Source: Romney, No Apology]
Declined to reveal details about his continuing ties to his buyout firm, leaving voters with no way of knowing how much money Romney has received from Bain Capital, or how much he may receive in the future.
Refused to disclose his underlying Bain Capital assets, some of which are Chinese firms. Ethics attorneys from both parties have said “Romney’s refusal to provide information on his federal disclosure forms is unprecedented.”
“Mitt Romney’s contemptuous attitude toward the importance of public disclosure is increasingly troubling. Whether it involves the details of his personal finances or the identity of his big fundraisers, the presumptive Republican is setting a new, low bar for transparency—one that does not augur well for how the Romney White House would conduct itself if he were elected.”