Readers have been eating up TPM Reader and private equity professional MB’s explanation of how Mitt Romney’s severance agreement might have led to his paying little to no income tax over the last decade. Now he returns with more thoughts on the mystery of Mitt’s taxes and how Reid might have learned some of the secrets …
A couple of other things to think about:
It is plausible that a Bain investor (a Limited Partner) would know the details of a tax-neutral Romney buyout from his Bain partners. Limited Partners (pension funds, endowments, foundations, etc.) that have millions invested in Bain Capital would demand to know the economic details of the transfer of control from Romney to his partners. Why? Because if the remaining partners were unhappy and departed, then the Bain Capital investors would have millions of dollars committed to a fund whose managers are no longer there to invest the money. Hence the rhetoric “name the source.” Any Limited Partner who disclosed details of Bain’s finances to Harry Reid (of all people) would likely have broken iron clad confidentiality agreements and would be risking meaningful personal and professional liability. I’m not saying Harry Reid is telling the truth, but the knowledge of Romney’s taxes and any tax-deferred or neutral deal would likely be known by more than just Romney, his family, and Bain Capital.
I know you raised some money from Marc Andreesen. I would bet Marc’s fund and Bain Capital have some investor overlap. I’m sure you’ve already made that call, but I bet that Marc has no love lost for Romney as Marc is truly in the “job creation” business whereas Romney is a “financial engineer/takeover artist.” Also, the more recent Bain funds have not performed as well as they did when Romney was there (but are still successful). Bain charges some of the highest fees to investors in the industry (in part because of their track record of success under Romney). I wonder if you dug around you could find a disgruntled limited partner or two in the Bain funds who’d be willing to be your Deep Throat on this issue or on the industry in general.
[Disclosure: Marc Andreesen is an investor in TPM Media LLC. I have had no communication with Marc about anything to do with Bain or Mitt Romney’s finances and have no plans to.]