STEPHEN BRAUN 02/ 2/12 02:08 PM ET
WASHINGTON — Presidential candidate Mitt Romney promised in 2007 he would shed any investments that conflicted with Republican positions on hot-button domestic and foreign policy issues. But Romney’s family trusts kept some of those holdings and repeatedly bought new ones until 2010, when they were finally sold off for more than $3 million, according to a detailed review of Romney’s financial records by The Associated Press.
Recently disclosed tax returns for three family trust funds for Romney, his wife, Ann, and their adult children show scores of trades in companies whose business operations are inconsistent with Republican Party stances that Romney favors on Iran, China, stem cell research, abortion and other issues.
A Romney campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said the former Massachusetts governor has no control over the investments made by his blind trust, but the trustee has tried to manage the trades “in a manner consistent with Gov. Romney’s publicly expressed positions.”
The continual trading between 2006 and 2010 raises questions about why the investments continued for three years, even after Romney said in 2007 that the trust would sell off any conflicted holdings. Those trades came during a period when Romney has sought to convince voters of his conservative Republican values. The trades also raise questions about whether any of the transactions were vetted for possible conflicts or political perception before they were made.
“Financially, these would seem to be completely legitimate investments,” said Thomas B. Cooke, a professor of business law at Georgetown University and former president of the National Society of Tax Professionals. “But for someone running for president, there’s also a smell test.”
Romney’s spokeswoman would not respond to questions about the timing or vetting of his investments in his blind trust. She said, however, that the lawyer running the trust occasionally makes adjustments in holdings with Romney’s positions in mind.