Greg Palast: "Mitt Romney’s Bailout Bonanza: How He Made Millions from the Rescue of Detroit"
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AMY GOODMAN: we turn to a major new exposé on the cover of The Nation magazine called "Mitt Romney’s Bailout Bonanza: How He Made Millions from the Rescue of Detroit." Investigative reporter Greg Palast reveals how Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made at least $15 million on the auto bailout and that three of Romney’s top donors made more than $4 billion for their hedge funds from the bailout. Greg Palast, welcome back to Democracy Now! So, lay it out for us.
GREG PALAST: Oh, it’s one of the creepiest stories I’ve investigated in a long time, Amy. Mitt Romney, through Ann Romney’s blind trust—not so blind, they could see exactly where the money was going—gave their money to Paul "The Vulture" Singer, a guy you and I have been following on Democracy Now! for five years. Singer, with two of his hedge fund buddies, bought up the auto parts division of General Motors for only 67 cents a share. They were able to turn 67 cents a share into $22 a share by threatening GM and the U.S. Treasury with a complete shutdown of the auto industry. They had complete control of all the steering wheels and steering columns of every car that was being made in America. GM would have been liquidated. They literally threatened to shut down GM. And so, they—the government simply allowed GM to pay them $12 billion. About half of that was straight from the U.S. Treasury in a takeover of Delphi’s pension fund.
Once they got the money—once they got the money, they eliminated 28 of 29 auto plants in the U.S. They moved—they eliminated every single job of every UAWmember; 25,200 UAW members all lost their jobs. Almost every plant was then moved by the Romney group to China. Delphi is making a fortune today. So you have 25,000 workers who lost their jobs to China. Three hedge fund managers made at least $4 billion, $4.2 billion. And the Romneys have made at least 15, but the evidence suggests that it’s more like $115 million for the Romneys, about a 4,000 percent profit.
What we can’t get from them at this moment, this may be the reason why they are not releasing their 2009 taxes, because that would give us a better hint. Unfortunately, they’ve not only moved the company operations to China, but they’ve moved their incorporation of the auto parts division of General Motors from Troy, Michigan, to the Isle of Jersey in the Mediterranean Sea, which hides their taxes and also, of course, hides their accounts. So that—that’s the story.
AMY GOODMAN: Greg, how did you get this information?
GREG PALAST: Well, I’ve been, you know, tracking Paul "The Vulture" Singer and his hedge fund for five years, as you saw, for Democracy Now!, from the Congo to England to South America. And I was stunned, absolutely stunned, to find out that the Romneys had given what ABC called a vast chunk of their money to Elliott Management. But it was well hidden. It not only went through Ann Romney’s blind trust, but then the blind trust was put in a special limited liability partnership with Paul Singer, which they then hid their levels of investments. Plus, by putting it in Ann Romney’s name—and remember, every dime that Ann Romney has comes from her husband—by Mitt moving his money to Ann Romney, they didn’t have to declare exactly how much money they made here, only that it was more than a million. But we were able to calculate that it was at least $15 million, and more likely $115 million.