ThinkProgress reported Wednesday that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has profited from thousands of Florida foreclosures through a Goldman Sachs investment fund. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) blasted Romney on the trail today for those investments, and re-upped those attacks in tonight’s CNN debate.
Romney attempted to explain away the investments, saying he didn’t control them because they were part of a blind trust:
GINGRICH: Governor Romney has investments in Goldman Sachs, which is today foreclosing on Floridians. So maybe Governor Romney, in the spirit of openness, should tell us how much money he’s made off of how many households that have been foreclosed by his investments.
ROMNEY: First of all, my investments are not made by me. My investments for the last 10 years have been in a blind trust, managed by a trustee. Secondly, the investments they’ve made, we’ve learned about this as we made our financial disclosure, have been made in mutual funds and bonds. I don’t own stock in either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. There are bonds the investor has held through mutual funds. And Mr. Speaker, I know that sounds like an enormous revelation, but have you checked your own investments? You also have investments through mutual funds that also invest in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Notably, Romney never denied the charge that he made money off of foreclosures. Later in the debate, Romney was asked about the $3 million he kept in a Swiss bank account before it was closed in 2010. Again, Romney attempted to brush aside the question, saying, “I have a trustee” who manages a blind trust.
Romney’s reliance on blind trusts is interesting, considering it was he who called them “a ruse” when running against former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) in 1994. And as ABC News noted, the trusts are “not so blind,” since they have been noted on his financial disclosure forms. The trusts are also maintained by Romney’s personal lawyer and don’t meet federal standards for elected officials. Romney’s original investments into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, meanwhile, were never in a blind trust.