Sunday, March 11, 2007

In Romney's Bid, His Wallet Opens to the Right

In marked contrast to the absurd hatchet job the front page of the NY Times did last week on two stocks Obama's broker bought without his knowledge, THIS front page NYT story is insightful and revealing, showing Romney's flip-flopping on critical issues, pandering to the right and not being the slightest bit subtle or clever.  It's not at all uncommon for wealthy individuals to grease their path to elected office by cleverly making donations to organizations and individuals that can be helpful (Mike Bloomberg's mayoral bid was undoubtedly helped by his philanthropy, for example), but usually the giving is done over a period of time so it doesn't look like the tawdry buying of support -- which is exactly what Romney appears to be doing...

In Romney’s Bid, His Wallet Opens to the Right

Published: March 11, 2007

WASHINGTON, March 10 — In the months before announcing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts contributed tens of thousands of dollars of his personal fortune to several conservative groups in a position to influence his image on the right.

Last December, a foundation controlled by Mr. Romney made contributions of $10,000 to $15,000 to each of three Massachusetts organizations associated with major national conservative groups: the antiabortion Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Massachusetts Citizens for Limited Taxation and the Christian conservative Massachusetts Family Institute.

Mr. Romney and a group of his supporters also contributed a total of about $10,000 to a nonprofit group affiliated with National Review. Over the past two years, he contributed $35,000 to the Federalist Society, an influential network of conservative lawyers. And in December 2005, he contributed $25,000 to the Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative research organization.

The recipients of Mr. Romney’s donations said the money had no influence on them. But some of the groups, notably Citizens for Life and the Family Institute, have turned supportive of Mr. Romney after criticizing him in the past.

Coming on the eve of his presidential campaign, Mr. Romney’s contributions could create the appearance of a conflict of interest for groups often asked to evaluate him. All the groups said he had never contributed before, and his foundation’s public tax filings show no previous gifts to similar groups. Its 2006 contributions will become public with its tax filings later this year.


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