GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds millions of dollars in offshore investments, a new report from ABC News finds.
While it is unclear whether any of the investments provided specific personal tax benefit to Romney -- a possibility that his camp has explicitly denied -- the report nonetheless adds further support to an ongoing narrative that the presidential hopeful stands on a financial plane reserved only for the top flight of the elite.
According to ABC News, Romney, a former executive at private equity firm Bain Capital who is projected to be worth upwards of $250 million, holds around $8 million of his personal wealth in as many as 12 funds based in the Cayman Islands. Romney also lists a separate investment, valued between $5 million and $25 million, placed on the same Caribbean island chain.
ABC News reports that Bain holds some 138 shrouded offshore funds in the Cayman Islands alone. Romney's campaign has maintained that such behavior is not unusual, and that Romney himself has paid all the appropriate U.S. taxes on his holdings within the accounts.
From ABC News:
Tax experts agree that Romney remains subject to American taxes. But they say the offshore accounts have provided him -- and Bain -- with other potential financial benefits, such as higher management fees and greater foreign interest, all at the expense of the U.S. Treasury. Rebecca J. Wilkins, a tax policy expert with Citizens for Tax Justice, said the federal government loses an estimated $100 billion a year because of tax havens.
Reuters reported earlier Wednesday that Bain also held accounts harbored in places such as Bermuda, Ireland and Hong Kong, which could lead to further questions about Romney's personal involvement in these holdings.
Andrea Saul, a spokesperson for the Romney campaign, pushed back quickly after the ABC News report, taking exception to their characterization of the investments as "tax havens."
"ABC is flat wrong. The Romney's investments in funds established in the Cayman Islands are taxed in the very same way they would be if those funds were established in the United States. These are not tax havens and it is false to say so," she said in a statement.
Romney has come under increasing scrutiny this week after first dancing around a question about his intent to release his tax returns at a debate, then dealing himself a one-two punch by announcing that he had paid "closer to the 15 percent rate" in taxes while simultaneously downplaying $374,327 in speaking fees as "not much." On Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), one of his supporters, encouraged him to immediately release his returns to prove that nothing is amiss.