New details about Romney's wealth confirm F. Scott Fitzgerald's quip about the rich

News sources report that Mitt Romney's financial portfolio has included an offshore company in Bermuda that remained invisible to voters. But it may be images of the Romney clan vacationing at their $8 million summer compound on a lake in New Hampshire that have more impact.

Charles Dharapak/AP
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney drives his family on his boat on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H., Friday, July 6, as he continues his vacation from the campaign trail.

As everybody knows, Mitt Romney is a very wealthy man.

Net worth somewhere around a quarter billion dollars, not counting the $100 million trust set up for his five sons. Offshore investments. A beach house in La Jolla, Calif., a town house in Belmont, Mass., and a summer compound on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

Photos of the Romney clan riding jet skis and a large power boat on vacation in New Hampshire this week led Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi to wonder if this was Mr. Romney’s “John Kerry moment” or perhaps proof of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous line about the rich: “They are different from you and me.”

RECOMMENDED: Top 10 richest US presidents

In Senator Kerry’s case, it was the photo of him wind-surfing in 2004 when he was the Democratic challenger to former president George W. Bush – an image Republicans quickly used to show that Kerry’s wealth allowed him to live an elite life-style … “different from you and me.”

(Romney and Kerry are both tall, wealthy, patrician-looking Ivy Leaguers from Massachusetts. In President Obama’s debate prep, Kerry will act the role of Romney.)

It’s a ticklish political situation for Romney, or at least has the potential to be. He wouldn’t be the richest man ever to run for the White House (that would be Ross Perot back in 1992 and 1996). But if elected, he would be the wealthiest president ever, according to the detailed reporting of Forbes Magazine’s “wealth team.”

Back during the Republican primaries and debates, it took some needling by Newt Gingrich and others to get Romney to release his tax returns for just two years (far fewer than the 23 years he provided Sen. John McCain in 2008 when Romney was being considered as McCain’s running mate). Meanwhile, thanks to the reporting of Forbes and others, the specifics of Romney’s wealth are known in greater detail.

Among them: $52 million in Bain & Company and Bain Capital funds, $23 million in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), $36 million worth of Federal Home Loan Banks consolidated obligations, an estimated $10 million of structured notes from Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas, and a personal loan of $400,000 to the Romneys’ horse trainer.

This week, more details were revealed.

“For nearly 15 years, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's financial portfolio has included an offshore company that remained invisible to voters as his political star rose,” the Associated Press reported.

“Based in Bermuda, Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd. was not listed on any of Romney's state or federal financial reports,” according to the AP. “The company is among several Romney holdings that have not been fully disclosed, including one that recently posted a $1.9 million earning suggesting he could be wealthier than the nearly $250 million estimated by his campaign.”

There have been no suggestions that the Romneys’ sheltering some of their wealth in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands breaks US tax law.

"Everything on the filings is reported as required," campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement. "If OGE [the US Office of Government Ethics] has an issue with any filings, they would let us know." 

Not surprisingly, liberal organizations, such as the Think Progress political blog, are jumping up and down demanding more answers. That’s to be expected from Romney’s political opponents.

But as Vanity Fair observed in its own long investigative piece on Romney’s off-shore investments, “Given his reticence to discuss his wealth, it’s only natural to wonder how he got it, how he invests it, and if he pays all his taxes on it.”

As the TV political scenes focused on the Romney’s $8 million summer place, Obama couldn’t help mentioning that his family vacations growing up featured Greyhound bus travel and the swimming pools at Holiday Inn motels. Realizing the importance of leisure time imagery, however, especially given millions of Americans’ economic worries, he did cancel this summer’s Obama family vacation at the resort island of Martha’s Vineyard.

RECOMMENDED: Top 10 richest US presidents

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to New details about Romney's wealth confirm F. Scott Fitzgerald's quip about the rich
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today