Bailout, Delphi take center stage in Romney charge in 'Nation'
By David Skolnick
and Marc Kovac
A left-wing magazine contends Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, and his wife, Ann, made at least $15.3 mil- lion from the auto bailout and federal loans given to Delphi.
The Nation, a liberal magazine, published a lengthy online article Thursday outlining what it contends are benefits Romney collected from a hedge-fund company that received bailout money.
Democrats were quick to pounce on Romney.
Chris Redfern said the report shows Romney and deep-pocket campaign donors reaped profits through a series of investments and business moves involving Delphi, the auto-parts supplier for General Motors.
Chris Maloney, a Romney spokesman, said: “This is a partisan, left-wing study meant to distract [voters] from the $1 billion of taxpayer funds the [President Barack] Obama administration handed over to the United Auto Workers in the Delphi bankruptcy.”
Redfern said Romney was bad-mouthing the federal auto rescue while he and campaign donors reaped profits.
“He holds an investment worth over $1 million in the hedge fund that swooped in to buy a stake in Delphi during its bankruptcy,” Redfern said during a press conference Thursday.
Maloney added: “The American people are sick and tired of this crony capitalism and its destructive effects on our economy. Mitt Romney will respect the rule of law and ensure the level playing field we need to get America working again.”
During a telephone interview, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, said, “Obviously, Mitt Romney is better off than he was four years ago. I think this is his M.O. He’s not concerned with whether or not people can make a livable wage. It’s only about profit.”
The article outlines a complicated series of investment moves involving a hedge fund controlled by backers of Romney and the Republican Party that forced federal support while eventually moving most of Delphi’s operations overseas.
About 21,000 Delphi salaried retirees, including 1,500 in the Mahoning Valley, lost their medical and life insurance, and had cuts of 30 percent to 70 percent to their pensions.
Bruce Gump, vice president of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association, said that when the Obama administration had the opportunity to help the Delphi retirees, it chose not to do so.
“I’ve read the piece, and I don’t know how much to trust,” he said. “It’s pretty complicated. There’s probably a great deal of truth in this and a great deal of spin in this.”
Gump said the Delphi retirees don’t have a candidate — even though he was a participant on a September conference call with reporters that was organized by the Republican National Committee — but an issue.
“We’ve got a better chance with the other side,” he said, meaning Romney.
Ryan said Delphi salaried retirees shouldn’t trust Romney.
“How can you read this article and possibly think Mitt Romney is going to help them if he is elected president?” he said. “This shows where he is and his priorities.”
Romney, The Nation wrote, benefited via an investment in a blind trust in Ann Romney’s name. The magazine estimates that the Romneys made “at least $15.3 million” on those investments.
Blind trusts allow people, including those serving in public office, to make financial investments without knowledge or control of the holdings involved.
Redfern said Thursday he doubts Romney was unaware of the Delphi investments.
“The family attorney of Mitt Romney runs his trust,” he said. “And to suggest that the family attorney of Mitt Romney does not share from time to time with Mitt Romney [and] Ann Romney or the rest of the Romney family the resources that they continue to reap by investing in hedge funds that play and prey on pensioners ... is a flat-out falsehood.”