Barack Obama campaign questions Mitt Romney’s secrecy over his personal finances

WASHINGTON—The Obama campaign raised questions Thursday over Mitt Romney’s secrecy when it comes to his finances, especially with regards to his investments and whether he pays his fair share of taxes, and called upon the Republican candidate to release his retirement contract from Bain Capital.

In a conference call with reporters, Robert Bauer, general counsel for the Obama campaign, suggested that Romney may still be working for Bain in some capacity despite Romney’s claim to have left the company in 1999.

Bauer said that would be one possible explanation as to why Romney received a preferential tax treatment of 15 percent on his investment income.

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“It’s understandable given the many years that he was involved with Bain and the pride he takes in his service there, that he may have some sort of arrangement by which Bain believes that he is continuing to render valuable service in some way to them,” Bauer said. “It’s just hard to get the answers to these questions when the governor has so systematically dodged the questions and refused to disclose the information.”

Bauer and Obama’s press secretary Ben LaBolt also criticized Romney for putting his investment holdings in a trust, managed by his personal attorney in Boston, that is not truly blind by federal standards.

A Romney spokeswoman recently told The Associated Press that Romney plans to put his holdings in a federal blind trust if he is elected president after the news service raised questions about how Romney would handle any future Bain income.

Andrea Saul, the Romney campaign spokeswoman, on Thursday emphasized that the campaign has made it known since last year when ABC News reported on Romney’s blind trust that the trust does not meet the exacting federal blind trust standard—nor has the campaign ever referred to the trust as a federal blind trust.

“Another day, another tired distraction by the Obama campaign, which is frantic to avoid discussing the continued rejection of President Obama’s agenda by the electorate and by members of his own party,” Saul said yesterday. “As has been reported for years, Governor and Mrs. Romney’s assets are managed on a blind basis. They do not control the investment of these assets, which are under the control and overall management of a trustee.”

The purpose of a blind trust is to protect against conflicts of interest that could influence a president’s conduct, policy positions, and legislation. Such a trust by federal standards has more rigorous parameters that would prevent Romney from knowing the contents of his portfolio.