Mitt Romney's 2011 tax returns, which were finally released today, show that Romney's family trust invested in two Chinese companies, a bank and a state-owned oil company. Then, as Romney's presidential campaign gained momentum, the trust sold the shares. This might not a big deal if Romney hadn't spent much of the past two years criticizing China for using unfair trade practices, and then faulting Obama for not being tougher on China's policies. For instance, Romney has said a lot of things like this:
"President Obama has spent 43 months failing to confront China's unfair trade practices," Mr. Romney said in a statement after Mr. Obama's announced that the government had filed trade complaints against China. "Campaign-season trade cases may sound good on the stump, but it is too little, too late for American businesses and middle-class families.
Doesn't sound so great now, does it? But here's the real kicker:
On Aug. 10, 2011, as Mr. Romney was emerging as a harsh critic of China, the shares were sold, producing a profit of $8,138, as the trust made money on the oil company but lost money on the bank.
So while Obama was spending 43 months not being tough enough on China's trade policies, Romney's trust was trying to profit from them. And then, through pure coincidence, Romney's family trust sold their shares in the two companies just as Romney escalated his presidential campaign (and criticisms of China).
Of course, Romney would never do something as transparently manipulative as instruct his bookkeeping lackeys to match his considerable finances to some politically advantageous figure or goal.
[Image via AP]