Joe. My. God. explains what this is about:
Gawker has posted 954 pages of previously unseen and labyrinthine Bain financial documents which they say may reveal proof of Mitt Romney’s attempt to cloak his massive holdings in tax-proof domestic and offshore accounts.
Bain isn’t a company so much as an intricate suite of steadily proliferating inter-related holding companies and limited partnerships, some based in Delaware and others in the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, and elsewhere, designed to collectively house roughly $66 billion in wealth in its many crevices and chambers. When Romney left in 1999, he and his wife retained significant investments in many of those Bain vehicles—he claims they are “passive investments” and that they are managed in a blind trust (though the trustee isn’t blind enough to meet federal standards of independence). But aside from disparate snippets of information contained in his federal and Massachusetts financial disclosure forms, his 2010 tax returns, and SEC filings, the nature of those investments has been obfuscated by design.
Gawker says that the documents are so deliberately vague and complex that they cannot begin to decipher what they actually say. They are asking forensic accountants and their readers to dig in.
The private equity firm founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made use of arcane techniques in several of its Cayman Islands-based funds to avoid U.S. taxes, according to a trove of Bain Capital’s private audit and finance records made public on the website Gawker today.
The audited financial statements of one of the Cayman Islands funds make note of the use of “blocker” entities, which are used to help retirement accounts and nonprofit entities avoid some taxes. Financial statements for another fund note that it “intends to conduct its operations so it will … not be subject to United States federal income or withholding tax …”
Those details emerge on the statements of two funds in which Romney still holds a sizeable investment, according to the financial disclosure statements he filed when he announced his bid for president.
The publication of the Bain Documents on the Gawker website could rekindle debate about Romney’s role at the company, and specifically about Bain’s decision to domicile many of its funds in offshore locations known as tax havens.
Fortune‘s Dan Primack calls the documents “worthless” and says he had them months ago…
Alex Seitz-Wald homes in on one discovery:
[O]ne immediate revelation is that Sankaty fund, based in Delaware for tax purposes, lent over $3 million to Las Vegas Sands, the casino company owned by Adelson. The fund made two loans of $2.4 million and $600,000 in 2009 to the Sands. Romney’s IRA held between $250,000 and $500,000 in the partnership, and made $50,000 and $100,000 from it in 2011. Adelson has become the largest donor to the Republican Party and conservative outside groups, dropping at least $70 million.