Nobody From Nowhere (@i8dc)

Occasional Common Sense

The Weekly Standard Equates Romney’s $30M Offshore Holdings to Wasserman Schultz’s 401(k) worth… $4,500? – Updated

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[Updated – I missed the whole nonsensical jump the first time around! Update at the bottom.]

Who knew – The Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper is an amateur contortionist. How else can he explain this?

“Disclosure forms reveal that Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a member of Congress from Florida, previously held funds with investments in Swiss banks, foreign drug companies, and the state bank of India. This revelation comes mere days after the Democratic chair attacked presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for holding money in Swiss bank accounts in the past…

So holding a diversified financial fund is the same as holding millions of dollars of cash in offshore accounts?  Like I said – contortionist.

But it gets better. As of December 31, 2010, the end of the period Wasserman Schultz’s disclosure covers, the Davis Financial Fund held 30% of its assets in foreign companies. Since Wasserman Schultz held between $1,001 and $15,000 in this fund, through this fund she owned between $300 and $4,500 worth of foreign company stock.

Like I said – amateur.

Seriously, $4,500? Romney is reported to own part of at least 12 Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands, worth as much as $30 million.  If these earn a paltry 2% per year, and if $30M is an accurate total of his Cayman holdings, guess how long it takes Romney to make $4,500, on his Cayman Island investments alone?

Three days.

To the Obama campaign: it’s good form to send a thank you note when somebody gives you a gift.

Update!

My first time reading Halper’s story, I mistook the giant, page-width advertisement in the middle of the story for the bottom of the page.  Finding the “jump,” I’ll just say that Halper’s big scandalous scoop continues apace.

After quoting a description of a Swiss banking company at length (such a surprise that a finance-focused mutual fund would hold shares in Swiss banks), Halper drops another bombshell: “Similarly, according to disclosure forms from 2004, Wasserman Schultz had holdings in the Fidelity Advisor Overseas Fund,” which holds various foreign companies.

Apparently feeling this was enough to make his case, Halper didn’t mention that the same form reveals holdings in the American Funds Europacific Growth Fund and the Templeton Foreign Smaller Companies Fund! Egad! And what does Halper think about this?

“To be clear, there is nothing in Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s disclosure forms to suggest that the DNC chair invested in anything illegal. But it is clear that some of her holdings had investments overseas… The hypocrisy, though, is clear: The Democrats, as well as President Obama, hope to paint Romney as an out of touch man for holding money in overseas bank accounts, when in reality their own chairman, Wasserman Schultz, had overseas investments.”

Hypiocrisy!  Dishonesty!  She’s saying there’s something wrong with what Romney’s doing while doing the same exact thing!

Well, there are two other things from the 2004 form that Halper didn’t pick up on.  First, the amounts of these investments: less than $1,000 each. So the big hypocrisy of Wasserman Shultz is, quite literally, walking around money for Mitt Romney.

And the second thing Halper missed?  The investments he’s so worked up about were not even Wasserman Shultz’s, but her husband’s.  They’re part of his contributions to his 401(k).

Is this a distinction without a difference? Maybe. But Shultz’s 401(k) is held in the U.S., and when he takes distributions they’ll be subject to applicable law.  Romney’s millions in the Cayman Islands?  What’s the point of holding those dollars outside the U.S. if not to avoid paying taxes on their earnings?

And if Schultz’s 401(k) is within bounds, then certainly so are things like Ann Romney’s blind trust, run by Romney’s lawyer, just happening to incest invest $10 million in the start-up of Tagg Romney’s Solamere Founders Fund.  Yeah – ten million dollars. Halper’s focused on less than ten thousand dollars, and somehow thinks that Wasserman Schultz is guilty of such hypocrisy that she can’t possibly comment honestly about Romney’s dealings in dollar amounts thousands of times larger.

Whatever. Nothing here’s likely to convince anybody of anything in the politics.

But maybe somebody will be a touch more skeptical of blatantly partisan two-bit pundits.

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Written by David Clayton

July 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Posted in Debunkery

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