Last year I wrote about Tagg Romney's firm Solamere Capital, and Mitt Romney's $10 million investment in the firm. Crack investigative reporter Lee Fang picked up that report and released many, many more details about Tagg, Solamere, and the opaque transactions that would shield Mitt Romney from basic blind trust laws if he were (gulp!) elected in November. Here's a taste of that report:
The claim that Solamere Group didn’t invest directly in Solamere Advisors, the firm employing former Stanford employees, appears to have been an attempt to shield Mitt Romney. Mitt invested about $10 million into Tagg’s Solamere Capital venture, which would suggest Mitt has a direct financial relationship with folks involved in a Ponzi scheme. That’s because Solamere Capital pools together investment money to co-invest in other companies.
According to this form and this form filed with the SEC, Solamere Group owns a large stake in Solamere Advisors (referred to in the documents as “CAMG Solamere.”) So it is impossible to argue that Solamere Capital—the Romney family’s investment company—does not have direct financial ties with Solamere Advisors, the firm filled with executives who sold CDs as part of the Stanford fraud. The Stanford scandal is second only to the case of Bernie Madoff.
The disclosures are made on part of the SEC website enhanced by the new Dodd-Frank law, the Wall Street reform Romney says he wants to repeal.
So what does this have to do with Ohio? Well, one of the investments Solamere has made, according to Fang's deeper investigative report at The Nation was in HIG Capital:
Meanwhile, HIG Capital—one of the largest Solamere partners, with nearly $10 billion of equity capital—owns a number of other firms that are closely monitoring the federal government.
Brad Friedman dug into HIG Capital, and guess what? HIG Capital owns a substantial piece of a company that makes voting machines! And those voting machines are used in Ohio, among other places.
Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at FreePress.org broke the story of the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a "strategic investment" to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic.
"Several tanker trucks full of political ink have been spilled on Mitt Romney's tenure as a vulture capitalist at Bain Capital," Bello and Fitrakis wrote. "A more important story, however, is the fact that Bain alumni, now raising big money as Romney bundlers are also in the electronic voting machine business. This appears to be a repeat of the infamous former CEO of Diebold Wally O'Dell, who raised money for Bush while his company supplied voting machines and election management software in the 2004 election."
Lee Fang at The Nation recently confirmed the FreePress reporting in a story of his own on the "crony capitalism" of Tagg Romney, whose father's money and high-profile connections present a number of troubling corporate conflicts of interest should Mitt Romney become President. The Daily Dolt also followed up with a very well-documented article on the H.I.G. group, their connections to Bain, and their takeover of Hart Intercivic.
I'm not writing this to be defeatist as much as I am to illustrate how critical Ohio is to this election. First we have Secretary of State Husted trying to limit early voting, which works to the benefit of Democrats as a general rule. That fight appears to be over, finally.
But the polls are tight. Really tight. Republicans have tossed many, many roadblocks in the way, and now we have news that once again, the damned voting machines are going to be an issue. Not only an issue, but one that directly benefits the Romney family, and possibly Mitt Romney indirectly.
Whatever the outcome of this election in November, there should be a movement to ditch these voting machines. They undermine confidence in election integrity and by extension, the democratic process. It's time to get on the paper ballot bandwagon and do what Ireland did: Ditch them all.