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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 01:35 PM

Fortune: Romney's blind trust 'ruse': Why Mitt Romney can see through his blind trusts.


When running against Ted Kennedy for Senate in 1994, however, Romney referred to blind trusts as "a ruse." And, at least in his own case, he's largely correct.


Here's what I mean: According to Romney's financial disclosure and tax forms, a majority of his investment income is derived from private equity funds (and related affiliate funds). And, within his private equity portfolio, most of the funds are managed by Romney's old colleagues at Bain Capital.

Romney hasn't been managing his Bain interests since creating the blind trusts, but he obviously knows about them. After all, they're based on a retirement package he negotiated upon leaving the firm in 1999. And he also knows about Bain's largest underlying investments in those funds. Portfolio companies like Clear Channel and Dunkin Brands (DNKN) and hospital chain HCA (HCA).

Or at least I assume he knows, because I assume he occasionally picks up The Wall Street Journal or just about any other newspaper that reported on Bain's purchases of those massive companies. Remember, private equity isn't quite as private as it used to be. The largest deals typically involve the acquisition of public companies, while an entire trade press industry has arisen to cover smaller transactions.


Good, succinct explanation of why Romney's blind trusts don't begin to achieve the goal they're supposedly set up to achieve, where the politician "doesn't know the companies in which he has a financial interest, so as to sidestep potential conflicts of interest."

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