The Hightower Report: Romney's Halloween Trick on Voters

Of all the things the Romneys could invest in, why voting machines?

Fri., Nov. 2, 2012

Romney's Halloween Trick on Voters

If you really wanted to scare people this Halloween, you should have gone trick-or-treating dressed as an Ohio voting machine.

The "black box" e-voting machines that Ohioans will use on Election Day are owned by Hart Intercivic – but that disguises the real owner. Last year, Hart was taken over by an investment fund with the cryptic name of HIG Capital. Peek into HIG, and you'll find that of its 22 American directors, 21 are donors to Mitt Romney's campaign, and a third of them had been money managers at Bain & Company, the hedge fund that gave Mitt his start in corporate plundering.

But the enigma within Ohio's machines goes even deeper than these cozy partisan ties suggest, for HIG itself is largely owned by an inscrutable private equity creature called Solomere. Who dat? Solomere was formed by Romney's oldest son, Tagg Rom­ney, and financed by Mama Ann Rom­ney and Uncle Scott Romney, with Papa Mitt himself chipping in $10 million and personally pitching Solomere to other rich investors.

Like father, like son: Tagg cloaks the fund's operations through a dark maze of offshore tax shelters. And, now, the son has slipped out of Solomere to be a top campaign manager for his father. This slippery guy gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "playing Tagg."

One wonders if Tagg's campaign duties include "monitoring" Ohio's voting machines. Can the Rom­neys even spell "conflict of interest"? The people's trust in the fairness of our democratic elections has already been severely eroded by the unlimited corporate cash flooding into the process, but what are we to make of a multimillionaire presidential candidate with secret financial and crony control of the machines that can decide the outcome in this key swing state? I ask you: Of all the things the Romneys could invest in, why voting machines?

For more info on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown" – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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