New charge: Auto bailout, Delphi loans benefited Obama, too

By David Skolnick


After a report contended Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, and his wife, Ann, made at least $15.3 million from the auto bailout and federal loans given to Delphi, the GOP campaign is firing back.

Romney’s campaign pointed to a Friday article on the website of the Weekly Standard, a right-wing publication, that contends President Barack Obama, a Democrat, “financially benefited from the federally financed auto bailout he supported.”

But, at best, it appears the benefit is minimal using the Weekly Standard’s own information.

As a state senator in Illinois, Obama invested between $50,000 and $100,000 in the Illinois General Assembly Defined Pension Benefit Plan. That pension fund, Obama’s only investment holding, invested in Delphi.

An Aug. 25 report in the conservative Weekly Standard states that as of June 2011, about 5.46 percent of the plan’s total portfolio is in private equity.

No one has alleged that 100 percent of that pension fund is with Delphi. But even if it is and Obama has $100,000 in the fund, the most he could have invested in Delphi is $5,460. The actual figure is likely considerably lower, and certainly much lower than $15.3 million.

Delphi received about $3 billion from the federal bailout.

“The Obama campaign’s hypocrisy is not mitigated by the size of the investment,” said Christopher Maloney, a Romney spokesman. “It’s reinforced by the action itself.”

But, said a source with knowledge of the president’s campaign, Obama’s Illinois pension is fixed and any payout he or his family might receive won’t be impacted by any individual investment the fund makes.

The Obama campaign and other Democrats touted an online article Thursday in The Nation, a liberal magazine, that contends Romney and his wife made at least $15.3 million from the bailout and loans given to Delphi through a hedge-fund company that received bailout money.

“The hypocritical assertions of President Obama’s campaign, coupled with his administration’s penchant for using campaign donations to pick winners and losers, make clear that he is doing everything he can to obscure the truth about his taxpayer-funded bailouts,” Maloney said.

“The American people are sick and tired of the Obama administration’s waste and cronyism,” he added.

Romney benefited from a blind trust in his wife’s name, according to The Nation.

Blind trusts allow people, including those serving in public office, to make financial investments without knowledge or control of the holdings involved.

In 1994, Romney called a blind trust “an age-old ruse. Which is to say you can always tell a blind trust what it can and cannot do.”

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 he is treating this report the same as the one from The Nation.

“It’s a conservative publication and [the article] is defensive in nature,” he said of the Weekly Standard piece. “I don’t really care who made money on this. The reality is, what was done [with the retirees losing benefits] was wrong and needs to be corrected. That hasn’t happened so far. The truth lies somewhere in between.”

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