January 18, 2012

ABC on Romney (Not at Bain Since 1999): He ‘Sent Millions to the Mormon Church’ From Recent Bain Deals

In 1998, we learned that Al and Tipper Gore made $353 in deductible charitable contributions against income of $198,000 the previous year. In the decade from 1998-2007, Joe and Jill Biden averaged $369 per year in such reported contributions. Bill and Hillary Clinton were infamous for taking charitable contributions for used underwear.

The aforementioned facts are generally not known by people who don’t closely follow the news, because not much was made of them. But from the point of view of ABC News, particularly the hatchet men disguised as investigative reporters Matthew Mosk and Brian Ross, Mitt and Ann Romney have a much bigger problem than the Gores, Bidens, and Clintons: They, and particularly Mitt through Bain Capital (dubious, as we’ll see), have given too much money to a particular charity. Because the reporters apparently want readers and viewers to see this as something underhanded, they describe charity as “sending” instead of “giving”:

Mitt Romney Sent Millions to Mormon Church

Underscoring the prominent, if little discussed role that Mitt Romney played as a Mormon leader, the private equity giant once run by the GOP presidential frontrunner carved his church a slice of several of its most lucrative business deals, securities records show, providing it with millions of dollars worth of stock in some of Bain Capital’s most well-known holdings.

Romney has always been a major donor to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which requires that members “tithe,” or give 10 percent of their income to the church. His family charity, called the Tyler Foundation, has given more than $4 million to the church in the past five years, including $1.8 million in 2008 and $600,000 in 2009. But because Romney, whose fortune has been estimated at $250 million, has never released his personal tax returns, the full extent of his giving has never been public.

Newly uncovered stock contributions made during Romney’s Bain days suggest there is another dimension to Romney’s support for the church — one that could involve millions more than has been previously disclosed.

As part of just one Bain transaction in 2008, involving its investment in Burger King Holdings, filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission reveal that an unnamed Bain partner donated 65,326 shares of Burger King stock to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, holdings then worth nearly $1.9 million. And there were numerous others, giving the church a stake in other Bain properties, such as Domino’s Pizza, the electronics manufacturer DDi, the phosphates company Innophos Holdings, and Marquee Holdings, the parent to AMC Theaters.

… The Mormon church is distinct from many other American denominations in what it asks from adherents in money, time and commitment — and not just because it asks young Mormon males to spend two years proselytizing for the faith as missionaries, said Jan Shipps, a religion professor at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, and one of the preeminent non-Mormon authorities on the church.

… Romney appears to have lived up to rigid financial requirements within the church that asks parishioners to contribute 10 percent of their annual earnings.

… Securities records show that Romney found ways to help include the church in some of the companies most lucrative deals, just as other executives at the firm found ways to generate support for their favored charities. Among the companies named on securities filings as “Bain charitable institution donees” were the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, The Boston Foundation Inc., Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund, and family foundations run by several top Bain executives.

… Romney’s own family nonprofit, The Tyler Charitable Foundation, was also cut into numerous Bain deals. The nonprofit, run by Bradford Malt — the Romney personal attorney who oversees all of the candidate’s financial holdings — passed those stock earnings along to a variety of other charities, including the church.

It’s hard to believe that ABC really bothered with the previous paragraph — or for that matter the entire report. What does “an unnamed Bain partner” donating stock to the Mormon church in 2008, nine years after Romney ceased his involvement in the business, have to do with anything? Romney still receives millions in annual distributions from Bain entities, but has represented in his financial disclosure statements that he has had no active involvement. Really, Matthew and Brian, those weren’t “Romney’s Bain days.”

And what’s with the use of dealmaking words and phrases to describe charitable donations? There’s “sent,” “carved his church a slice,” “include the church in … lucrative deals,” and “cut into numerous Bain deals.”

Here’s part of Rush’s take on this nonsense earlier today:

So what? Valerie Jarrett just broke the law! She went into a church and gave a political speech ripping into the Republicans and then after the church speech, they did a voter registration drive in a church. Romney’s not breaking the law.

What’s wrong with giving to your church? It’s a charity! He didn’t take all the money himself like the Clintons do. He’s not hiding it in some family foundation where he can get access to it later, plus a charitable deduction off the top of the donation he’s made. Zero interest in Obama from the ABC investigative unit. Zero. I don’t know how much money Obama gave Reverend Wright. We don’t know how much money Obama gave Reverend Wright. We don’t know how much money Reverend Wright gave Obama.

Breaking the law by a Democrat isn’t news; but a Republican being generous with his money to an entity which someone doesn’t seem to like must be sinister in some way, even though it’s clearly lawful. Makes perfect sense to me. (/sarc)

It seems that Ross might have taken the assignment to atone for his breakout report on Jeremiah “Go D**n America” Wright four years ago. If so: For shame, Brian — especially since you seem to be conveniently setting the stage for an all-out attack on Mormonism should Romney get the GOP nomination.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Tapper: ‘Top Three Conservative Arguments About Romney’s Record No One Has Made Effectively’

Filed under: Economy,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:27 am

Jake Tapper at ABC’s Political Punch is really saying that no candidate has made these arguments effectively.

Actually, Jake, Argument 3 below regarding abortion has been made, but perhaps with not as much emphasis on the free ones for low-income Massachusetts residents (as opposed to the $50 copay required for others, which yours truly featured over four years ago and which several bloggers have brought up repeatedly). On that one, if “effectively” means “convincingly,” been there, done that.

Additionally, there are several other effective arguments conservatives have made which Romney’s opponents have yet to touch. Take your pick among the links listed here four years ago, and this doozy from August 2008.

Anyway, here is Tapper’s list:

1. Free Cars for Welfare Recipients? (really no need for the question mark — Ed.)

In 2006, Romney started a program to provide welfare recipients without access to public transportation with free cars. The idea was to provide them with a way to get to work so they could eventually get off welfare.

… The program was discontinued in 2009. …

2. Early Release for Prisoners Serving ‘Life’ Sentences Peaked Under Romney

… according to the Boston Herald in 2008, “Some 118 killers and rapists were sprung early from prison under former Gov. Mitt Romney’s watch … allowed to walk out the gates by the Department of Correction by claiming so-called ‘good time’ that in some cases substantially reduced their sentences.” (Michael Dukakis, call your office — Ed.)

3. Free Abortions

“On every piece of legislation, I came down on the side of life,” Romney said at the Family Research Council’s Values Voters Summit in 2007.

That’s a matter of interpretation.

… senior vice president for policy development at Tufts Associated Health Plan Jon Kingsdale (a Romney appointee, as were several others at the Connector Authority — Ed.) … Kingsdale wrote a memo to the Connector Authority recommending that for abortions, insurance companies require co-pays between $0 and $100, depending on income level. In September 2006, that was approved by the Connector Authority. Every health care plan offered to low-income Massachusetts residents covers abortion.

Boy, it’s a good thing Mitt Romney had that prolife conversion in 2004 (/sarc).

These and other arguments which will discourage conservative voters from turning out will become really big issues sometime, oh, around Labor Day, at which time the Democrats and their media allies will hammer them — which is why Romney’s chances in the general election are so dim.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (011812)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:15 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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Can’t Make This Up — “New Obama OMB director a Bain alum.” Of course, the Associated Press’s coverage doesn’t disclose that. Since Jeffrey Zients will be Acting Director, he won’t be going through a confirmation hearing.

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Regarding the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which has apparently been killed for this session of Congress, a Wall Street Journal editorial supporting the legislation claims that “SOPA is already in its 3.0 version to address the major objections. Compromises have narrowed several vague and overly broad provisions. The bill’s drafters also removed a feature requiring Internet service providers to filter the domain name system for thieves—which would have meant basically removing them from the Internet’s phone book to deny consumer access.”

If the Journal doesn’t mind (it seems like they do, but too bad), I’ll wait for outfits like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and certain legal scholars to weigh in before evaluating these claims.

The bigger point on SOPA is that it was originally such a grievous overreach that its very name turned into a synonym for Internet censorship and enablement of law enforcement mischief. Yes, Virginia, there is a serious problem with online piracy, but those who wanted to attack it with an arsenal of sledgehammers have tarred their cause to the point where it will probably be years before they can get even sensible restrictions through Congress. If I’m correct, that’s the fault of its advocates and congressional sponsors.

Update: Heritage isn’t buying what the Journal is selling.

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Comedy gold from Andrew Sullivan, who in case you didn’t know, wrote a cover story at what little remains of Newsweek called “Why are Obama’s critics so dumb?” — “Given the enormity of what he inherited, and given what he explicitly promised, it remains simply a fact that Obama has delivered in a way that the unhinged right and purist left have yet to understand or absorb.”

Six words supported with four graphics, Andrew:

- Worst.
- Post-WWII.
- Recovery.
- Ever.
- By Far.

Given that Newsweek, which was in such bad shape in mid-2010 that it was sold for $1, is probably in worse shape now, I’d say it’s pretty much a fact that it’s trying to keep its traffic numbers up by getting hits from center-right web sites — which is why I haven’t linked and won’t link to Sully’s sick screed.

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At CBS News — “CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson identifies 11 green-energy companies, besides Solyndra, that got billions of tax dollars, then declared bankruptcy (or are suffering serious financial issues.” The report is also described at BigGovernment.com. In an interview of John Stossel at Fox News last night, Bill O’Reilly noted that the parent company of one of those companies, First Solar, which received $1.2 billion, is French.

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Interesting, at the Hill (HT to the indispensable Global Warming Policy Foundation email) — “President Obama’s jobs council called Tuesday for an “all-in approach” to energy policy that includes expanded oil-and-gas drilling as well as expediting energy projects like pipelines.” Let’s see a) if it gets press traction, and b) if the President gives it any heed. The guess here is “no” on both fronts.

Positivity: Man says stranger, divine intervention saved his life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Chickasha, Oklahoma (video at link):

January 13, 2012

A man in Chickasha believes a simple phone call from someone he’d never met saved his life. He was working when he passed out from fumes. He doesn’t know how long he was out but says a phone call from a stranger is why he’s here to tell about it.

“I hadn’t read a label in 10, 15, 20 years,” Dale Lane said. “I betcha I read them from now on.”

Lane believes he had a near-death experience.

At 81 years old, he’s pretty active and was remodeling one of his rental properties, laying tile in a small area.

But there’s a large portion of that day he doesn’t remember after fumes from the glue he was using on the floor got to him.

“The next thing I know, I was trying to get off up off the floor,” Lane said. “When I come around, I didn’t know nothing. My mind was gone, and I didn’t have any coordination. I was trying to get up off the floor, and I couldn’t make nothing work.”

But Lane believes God made something else work.

“I’m a walking tool box. I have my tools all over my body. That phone rang and I pulled it out and answered it,” he said.

On the other end was Juanita Ancheta.

“If it hadn’t been for her, I don’t think I’d be here today,” Lane said.

Ancheta and her co-worker, Lacey Mado, are also from Chickasha.

They were looking for rental property for a client.

Lane’s property was the first listing.

“He answered the phone, and he didn’t sound right,” Ancheta said. “He kept repeating himself. He said he drove, but he didn’t know where he was. I said, ‘Sir, do you need help?’”

“I remember her asking me if I was alright,” Lane said. “And I said, ‘No, I’m not alright. I need help.’ She said, ‘Where are you at?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know.’”

“Then I called 911, and then she kept him on the phone,” Mado said.

Paramedics soon arrived.

Lane was in the emergency room for nearly six hours.

“They didn’t know why I had passed out. They had assumed since I was a diabetic, and with these fumes, both of them working together got me to pass out,” he said.

But everyone involved believes there was more working together in Lane’s favor.

Although his wife passed away last year…

“I think she nudged Jesus and said get ahold of somebody to get that guy out of trouble,” he said. “I really think she did.”

“God works in mysterious ways,” Ancheta said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.