Romney's Billions - Reader Criticism

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Ben Cohen
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I've been receiving mail and comments in regards to our piece on Romney's dishonesty regarding his personal fortune, some of which was critical of the headline we put up. "Mitt Romney is being fundamentally dishonest about how much money he has" was apparently misleading according to several readers because we didn't provide conclusive evidence that Mitt Romney is hiding hundreds of millions of dollars in bank accounts and investments around the world. Wrote one reader:

The charge in your headline is definitive. Nothing in the story is, and you have no empirical data with which to base that claim.

We thought long and hard about the title of the piece, weighing up just how accusatory we wanted it to sound. Given there is no way of knowing exactly how much Romney is worth - because he won't disclose it - we couldn't flat out accuse him of hiding money. However, given the unprecedented measures he has taken to protect that status of his wealth (as outlined in the piece) the one thing we know for sure is that Romney is being completely dishonest about how much money he has. Otherwise he would, like every other Presidential candidate for the past 40 years, have released his tax returns over the past decade. George W. Bush released 13 years worth of tax returns in 2004, and John McCain 23 years in 2008. Romney has released just two. Romney would have also disclosed where he keeps his money (he hasn't), and his continued investing relationship with Bain (he didn't).

Asserting that Romney is being fundamentally dishonest about how much money he has, is quite frankly, stating the obvious.

Looking at all the evidence, it seems highly unlikely that Romney is worth the $250 million his campaign is claiming he is, and we were not afraid to point that out. At no point did we directly state that Romney is far richer than he is claiming - we stated that it is extremely likely that he is given the other theories don't add up. There is a difference. From the piece:

The end result of going through the numbers, comparing Romney to his former peers and looking at what is publicly available on how he has set up the management of his money leads to one conclusion: Mitt Romney is most definitely hiding something.

We don't know exactly what Romney is hiding, but we do know for a fact he is hiding something, which actually makes our headline rather tame.

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