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Mitt Romney's Ethics Problem: Marriott Edition

The money goes in a circle among these guys. Mitt Romney, former board member of Marriott International, recipient of gigantic donations to SuperPACs by JW Marriott, Jr, spends megabucks for his campaign to snuggle down for the night at Marriott

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The money goes in a circle among these guys. Mitt Romney, former board member of Marriott International, recipient of gigantic donations to SuperPACs by JW Marriott, Jr, spends megabucks for his campaign to snuggle down for the night at Marriott hotels, nationwide.

Open Secrets:

When it's time for a few hours' sleep, Romney may not pull out his very own down pillow -- asGeorge W. Bush did when he was on the trail -- but he does appear to have a preference in hotel chains: Marriott International, a company with deep personal, political and financial ties to the candidate.

Romney's campaign has spent more than $475,000 in travel expenses at Marriott-owned hotels during the 2012 campaign -- more than three-and-a-half times what he's spent at second-place Hilton Hotels and 39 percent of the campaign's total lodging expenditures, according to Center for Responsive Politics research.

The money, however, doesn't flow one way: current Marriott International Chairman J.W. Marriott, Jr. and brother Richard Marriott -- the chairman of a Marriott International offshoot, Host Hotels and Resorts -- each have maxed out in contributions to Romney's campaign. More significanly, they've donated $1,000,000 apiece to pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future.

It goes a little bit farther even than that. Romney's blind trust that really isn't a blind trust holds between $100,000-250,000 of JW Marriott Co common stock (see page 7). So here's a perfect example of a conflict. Donors give to Romney's campaign, including J.W. Marriott, Jr. A big chunk of that money is spent at Marriott hotels. Romney also owns Marriott stock. There is a conflict of interest there.

You'll hear about how it's not really a big deal for Mittens to have an investment in Marriott stock, or use campaign money to stay at Marriott hotels, because after all, the campaign has to stay somewhere at night, right? Wrong, because it's not just the campaign. It's organizations like CPAC, whose 2012 conference was held at a Marriott hotel, and even Bilderberg 2012. It's hard to imagine that if Mitt were President, he wouldn't confer preference on a chain like Marriott from the standpoint of personal ties as well as financial benefit.

But hey, I'm sure the politerati out there who like to call Mitt's lies something like "mistakes" or "errors", will gloss over this too, saying it's certainly not a problem that the guy sat on the board for over ten years, owns stock in the company, and is taking six-figure donations from J.W. Marriott, Jr. himself. Sure, not a problem at all. Unless one thinks that their President might be better off not having such deep ties to multinational corporations who work very hard to keep unions out of their properties and taxes out of our national treasury, of course.

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