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Today's Must Read: "Romney Aide Trades on Political Ties" Today's Must Read: "Romney Aide Trades on Political Ties"

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Today's Must Read: "Romney Aide Trades on Political Ties"

The Boston Globe takes readers behind-the-curtain today with a look at how Mitt Romney's top presidential fundraiser Spencer Zwick has traded on his political connections to raise more than $200 million for his start up financial partnership, Solamere Capital

Donovan Slack's reporting painstakingly details how Zwick asked Romney supporters to invest at least $10 million in Solamere -- advertising that Romney himself was the first investor, plunking down $10 million -- money that would then be reinvested with funds managed by Romney's political contributors. Zwick and his partners, including Romney's son Tagg, stood to gain almost $17 million in investment fees and Romney has made up to $1 million on his investment.

And she finds that, for someone with no experience in high finance, Zwick's success is most unusual and largely due to his RomneyLand connections. And because Solamere does not disclose its investors, it's difficult to determine whether Zwick is properly managing his dual roles as chief presidential fundraiser and private equity manager.

Slack's article is a stellar example of behind-the-scenes influence reporting. These are tough dots to connect and Slack does it expertly. Political coverage could use more stories like this.

Worth the read

The story of Solamere offers a rare glimpse into the intersecting worlds of Romney's business and political operation, which continues to employ Zwick as chief fund-raiser for the 2012 campaign. Although campaign finance specialists say his overlapping missions are permitted by law, some ethics watchdogs say the arrangement presents an appearance that key political contributors could be rewarded with business opportunities. ...

It is well established that Romney's business background and ties helped build his political power. In 2008, Zwick flipped that formula upside down, using political leverage to kick off a multimillion-dollar investment firm.

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