Romney’s auto bailout payout

Published on Monday, October 22, 2012

Romney Auto BailoutHere’s one right from the files of “you can’t make this up.”

A compelling investigative piece reports that Mitt Romney, who opposed President Obama’s auto industry bailout, and his wife Ann made at least a 3,000 percent profit on his investment in a hedge fund that preyed on that bailout.

And it gets worse.  After Delphi Automotive, a major General Motors parts supplier, was bought out by that hedge fund in 2009, the fund’s managers used bailout money to keep the company afloat, while eliminating pensions and health benefits for Delphi retirees.  Responsibility for partial payment of those pensions was shifted to the taxpayer-funded Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. 

And there’s more: thanks to the Citizens United ruling, those same hedge fund operators are paying for TV ads in Ohio in which former Delphi workers incorrectly blame President Obama for their diminished pensions.

Investigative reporter Greg Palast exposes the incredible greed behind Elliott Management’s dismantling of Delphi, which, after gobbling up its stock in 2009 for 67 cents a share – made a $1.3 billion profit, or 44 times its initial investment -- when it took that stock public in 2011.

Romney’s wife, Ann, had at least $1 million of her trust (the minimum required to report by law) invested in Elliott at the time of that stock sale.  The Delphi sale earned the Romneys at least $15.3 million on every $1 million they had invested.  (Palast suggests their stake may have been much higher, and notes the Romneys have thus far failed to disclose their 2009 taxes, which would show the basis for the investment.)

Not only did the Romneys profit enormously at the expense of Delphi retirees and the American taxpayers, whose bailout money financed the Delphi deal.  Delphi’s unionized workforce was subsequently dismantled and shipped overseas.

As Palast reports: “Of the twenty-nine Delphi plants operating in the United States when the hedge funders began buying up control, only four remain, with not a single union production worker.  Romney’s ‘job creators’ did create jobs – in China, where Delphi now produces the parts used by GM and other major automakers here and abroad.  Delphi is now incorporated overseas, leaving the company with 5,000 employees in the United States (versus almost 100,000 abroad).”

When it comes to “job creation,” voters would appear to have a clear choice.

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