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FACT CHECK: Some Romney Housing Investments Were Not in Blind Trust FACT CHECK: Some Romney Housing Investments Were Not in Blind Tru... FACT CHECK: Some Romney Housing Investments Were Not in Blind Trust FACT CHECK: Some Romney H...

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / Campaign 2012

FACT CHECK: Some Romney Housing Investments Were Not in Blind Trust

photo of Naureen Khan
January 26, 2012

In Thursday night's CNN debate, Newt Gingrich accused Mitt Romney of making investments that fueled the housing crisis.

“He has an investment in Goldman Sachs, which is, today, foreclosing on Floridians,” Gingrich said. “Maybe he should tell us how much money he's made off of how many households that have been foreclosed by his investments.”

Romney answered the charge this way: “First of all, my investments are not made by me. My investments for the last ten years have been in a blind trust, managed by a trustee. Secondly, the investments that they made, we learned about this, as we made our financial disclosure, had been in mutual funds and bonds. I don't own stock in either. There are bonds that the investor has held through mutual funds.”

 

Yet, according to Romney's financial disclosure forms, not all of his mutual funds were part of a blind trust. The Boston Globe reported in September that Romney owned between $250,001 and $500,000 in a mutual fund called the Government Obligation Fund that invests in debt notes of various government entities, including mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and he made between $15,001 and $50,000 in interest from those investments.

Since those assets were considered a charitable trust rather than a blind trust, Romney could have reviewed them himself.

Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul said that the fund was managed by a trustee for Romney, not by the candidate himself, and that the asset has since been sold. 

Romney has not always defended blind trusts. He was a blistering critic of them when he was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy in 1994.

“The blind trust is an age-old ruse. You give a blind trust rules. You can say to a blind trust, don't invest in properties which would be in conflict of interest or where the seller might think they're going to get an advantage from me.” Romney told The Boston Globe in 1994. "'A United States senator has an obligation to tell its blind trust what it cannot and can invest in," he later told the Associated Press.

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