What Romney and Madoff may have in common

We now know everything we needed to know about Herman Cain, at least we think we do. We not only know about Godfather Pizza, but about alleged peccadillos he had while heading the Restaurant Association.

We even know the name of Cain’s campaign manager, Mark Block, who we’ve seen defiantly blowing smoke into the lens of a camera. That the press has been largely mum on the subject of Cain’s finances, and connection to the Koch Brothers is, of course, another matter.

But, why haven’t we heard of Mitt Romney’s campaign fundraiser, Spencer Zwick, who also coincidentally happens to be a managing partner of Solamere Capital? Does he need to light up a Marlboro, or take a swig of Jack Daniels before he gets into the media spotlight?

Why haven’t we seen Mr. Romney’s tax returns either? Not now, not ever, not during any of his campaigns for Senate, or previous presidential campaigns nor, according to ThinkProgress, during his tenure as governor of Massachusetts.

What’s more, while all the major newspapers have, at one time or another, ventured into Bain Capital, why have we heard barely a peep about Solamere Capital? And, what might Solamere Capital have to do with Romney’s reluctance, even under pressure from his nemesis Rick Perry, to release his 2010 tax returns?

As the Texas Tribute reports, within days of releasing his own 2010 tax returns, Perry called upon Romney to do the same, but to no avail.

President Obama, of course, has released his tax returns from last year, and voters now know not only what the president’s net worth is, but the source of his income. But, even in the face of questions about whether or not a former executive of Bain Capital illegally contributed to his campaign, Mr. Romney has remained silent. Why?

The answer may be found in an article by ThinkProgress that interviewed Tagg Romney, Mitt Romney’s son, and concluded that both father and son, and Spencer Zwick, Mr. Romney’s fundraiser “have extensive financial and political ties to three men who allegedly participated in an $8.5 billion Ponzi scheme.”

In the interview, Tagg acknowledges that there is, in fact, a business relationship that includes himself, his father, and Mr. Zwick.

Think about this, as reported, Mr. Romney’s investment group partnered with Stanford Financial Group, a group alleged by the Securities and Exchange Commission of having defrauded investors out of $8.5 billion, a Ponzi scheme second only to that of Bernie Madoff.

Ponzi schemes get a bit complicated, but what it all boils down to is that Mitt Romney gave his son “seed money” to start his own company, Solamere Capital, along with Spencer Zwick back in 2008. Solamere Capital, not unlike Bain Capital, is an investment fund that invests in investors. For Romney’s reported initial investment of $10 million in Solamere Capital, his son’s venture, in 2008, he has received as much as a million back so far.

A year later, after Stanford was charged with fraud by the SEC, Tagg Romney then partnered with three former executives from Stanford Financial Group who have been sued by the SEC for having given incentives in the form of large bonuses to brokers to peddle bogus CDs. The victims of Stanford Financial Group’s $8.5 billion Ponzi scheme, like those of Bernie Madoff’s, are retirees and people on fixed incomes.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky. As ThinkProgress also reports, the bonds between Romney’s campaign and his family investment company “are deeply entwined.” Many top donors to the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign have also invested in Tagg’s firm. And, keeping it all in the family, Romney’s brother is among the advisors of Solamere Capital.

Tagg Romney, the governor’s son, told ThinkProgress that he’s proud to have now helped another group, Solamere Advisors, get its start. Notably, Solamere Advisors is now run by the same three executives from the $8.5 billion Stanford Financial Ponzi scheme still under investigation by the SEC.

So, you might ask, why should we care about Tagg’s business, or his business associates? He’s not running for president. Well, why did the trustees pursue Bernie Madoff’s sons, they’re not responsible for Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme? Can one directly link Mr. Romney’s campaign to either Solamere Capital, formed with the help of his campaign finance manager, Spencer Zwick, or Solamere Advisors, formed with the help of Tagg Romney and run by three executives indicted by the SEC?

If Romney is pressed further to release his tax returns for 2010, voters may have the answer to this question. Connecting the dots between Romney’s financial ventures and his campaign is a necessity for any election in this country to be taken seriously.

Romney is right when he says, “Corporations are people, my friend.” Clearly, the Supreme Court agrees, and by its Citizens United ruling, corporations now have more rights. But, like people, corporations can run, but they can’t hide. They, too, are criminally liable for fraudulent activities, and the executives who run those organizations, as well as their associates, are not immune from prosecution, and/or allegations of impropriety.

In terms of allegations of impropriety, it is the Romney campaign, and not Herman Cain’s, that needs the greatest scrutiny.

Jayne Lyn Stahl is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.

One Response to What Romney and Madoff may have in common

  1. Pingback: What Romney and Madoff may have in common | Intrepid Report.com | My Marketing File