One characteristic of being a human is making mistakes whether they are from bad judgment, forgetfulness, or misunderstanding, and only the Christian bible’s Jesus Christ was a perfect man if one subscribes to that ideology. Most Americans would not hold it against a politician if they made mistakes or bad decisions, but when a pattern develops over time, voters should be suspicious. A candidate for the nation’s highest office should be above suspicion if they expect to win the trust and confidence of the people, but as Americans are learning more about Willard Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan, it appears there is a pattern of malfeasance and possible illegal activities that should be a warning that both men are not trustworthy and certainly not suited for the highest offices in the land.
It was less than a week ago that Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate, and already there are questions about insider trading and omitting information on financial disclosures. Now, Ryan might be excused for inadvertently omitting assets on one year’s disclosure, but apparently he failed to list “between $15,001 and $50,000 in 2010, and between $100,001 and $1 million last year.” Ryan used Romney’s “retroactive” excuse and only included the trust he and his wife inherited from her mother while being vetted by the Romney campaign, and it leaves a suspicious person wondering; if he was not chosen as a running mate, would he have ever listed such a large amount of money of his disclosures?
Within the past week, there were questions about whether Ryan was guilty of insider trading during the financial meltdown when he sold stocks of several major banks after learning from then-Treasury Secretary Paulson that Congress would have to approve a bailout to avert a total meltdown of the financial system. Selling bank stocks all at once is questionable, but within hours he purchased stocks in Paulson’s old firm Goldman Sachs. There is no way to know for sure if Ryan learned about the dire condition of the system from the White House before Paulson spoke to congressional leaders, but the appearance of impropriety adds to a lack of transparency and willingness to profit from information the public was shielded from.
It is a stretch to believe anything coming out of the Romney campaign because Willard has lied about his alleged departure date from Bain Capital, and based on SEC filings, he did not leave until well after February 1999. When the SEC filings were exposed, Romney conveniently came up with the “retroactive retirement” story to cover his lies and filings that clearly show he was still in charge at Bain Capital till at least August 2001 and possibly longer.
There were questions this week about whether or not the Romney campaign received donations from foreign sources during his campaign tour adding fuel to questions of his adherence to the law. It is against campaign finance law to accept donations from foreign sources, but without disclosure laws for contributions to super-pacs, it is a difficult crime to prove. In January 2012, the Supreme Court issued an order upholding prohibitions against foreigners making contributions to influence American elections. However, hundreds of foreign corporations already play an integral and legal role by donating to super-pacs and influencing American elections through their subsidiaries. If Romney were not prone to lying, he may not come under suspicion and scrutiny, but like a common criminal, secrecy and deceit are Willard’s modus operandi.
The biggest question about Romney is his refusal to release more than two years of tax returns. There is a reason Romney is willing to undergo intense pressure and repeated calls from Democrats and Republicans alike to release his tax returns, and if he did not have anything to hide, he would have released the returns when he was close to garnering enough delegates to clinch the Republican nomination. Yesterday in South Carolina Romney said he paid no less than 13% in income taxes, and that the American people would just have to trust he was telling the truth. Interestingly, Romney repeated something Mrs. Willard said during an interview when asked about their taxes and it centers on their charitable donations. Willard said that if you figured in the 10% he gives to charity with his remarkably low 13%, then he pays 23% of his income, but giving 10% to the LDS cult is not paying income taxes. When his wife was questioned about why they did not release more than two years of returns, she also cited that they “give 10% to charity” and they were not releasing any more returns. What is a recurring theme in Mrs. Willard’s answers to tax return questions is that if they release any more, it will give their opponents something to attack, so why she, or her husband, continue touting their 10% donations to Mormons is a source of interest; and suspicion.
It is difficult, no impossible, to believe anything coming out of the Romney-Ryan campaign and it is based on more than just their proclivity for lying. The possibility that Ryan was involved in insider trading is certainly plausible, and there is a reason he conveniently had an “inadvertent omission” of a trust that is worth from $1-5 million dollars. As Sarah Jones said yesterday, “the murky money of Romney-Ryan is becoming the defining narrative of the Republican ticket,” but it is more than just murky money; it is a culture of secrecy, denial, and concealment that defines Romney and Ryan and induces even trusting Americans to consider both men are at least shady, and possibly guilty of illegal activity. It is a good thing SEC filings are open to public scrutiny, because without them, it would be nearly impossible to prove Willard was still running Bain Capital post-1999. Income tax returns are not open to the public and it is why Romney is desperate to keep secrets hidden regardless that 63% of Americans demand transparency, and that he release more than just two years of returns.
Honestly, one is tempted to call Willard Romney and Paul Ryan criminals for their questionable financial dealings and it is becoming more evident every day that Romney’s departure from Bain Capital is steeped in something that must be illegal, but without substantiated and verifiable proof, it is just conjecture. One thing is certain; there are records, court documents, or SEC filings somewhere that tie Willard to damning evidence as to why he left Bain and why he refuses to release tax returns dating back to 1999. He is hiding something and desperate to keep it secret or transparency would not be anathema to his presidential aspirations. It is the same scenario with Paul Ryan who is only able to squirm out of insider trading charges because there is no definitive proof he did not get advanced warning from the Bush White House about the looming bailout that prevented a financial meltdown in which he profited by buying stock in the Treasury secretary’s former bank.
Americans may never know the extent of crooked dealings and concealed money associated with Romney and Ryan and it is shameful that transparency is plague to them. They cannot be trusted for myriad reasons, but primarily because they are secretive liars when they should be an open book to seek the highest offices in the land and expect Americans to trust them with America’s security and economic stability. The truth is that they have not given one single reason to trust them, and yet that is Romney’s demand whether it is lying about his tax returns, or when he separated from Bain Capital. The thought of him and Ryan controlling the executive branch should frighten the life out of every American, because based on their “murky money” records and inclination to lie, there are plenty of reasons to be terrified at what two sleazy crooks would do if they win the most powerful offices in the world.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.