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Entries in Mitt Romney (34)

Thursday
Feb072013

Lawsuit Accuses Romney Supporters of Illegal Robocalls During Election

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(DENVER) -- A lawsuit seeking federal class-action status in Colorado is accusing an Arizona non-profit of conducting illegal robocalls to campaign for Mitt Romney during the presidential election.

Marlo Edholm, 34, filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Denver on Monday against Americans for Responsible Leadership, a non-profit group in Arizona.

Edholm, a recent nursing school graduate from Denver, said she received at least five illegal robocalls to her cellphone from the group.

She said the calls are a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, according to the lawsuit.  The law prohibits unsolicited robocalls to cellphones, which can cost the telephone call recipient money for the minutes used.

Americans for Responsible Leadership spent millions of dollars last year supporting Republican candidates, including presidential candidate Romney and opposing ballot initiatives in Arizona.

The group's stated purpose on its website is to "promote the general welfare of the citizens of the United States of America by educating the public about concepts that advance government accountability, transparency, ethics and related public policy issues."

In January, ProPublica said it obtained Americans for Responsible Leadership's application to the IRS for tax-exempt status, which stated that it would not "spend any money attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any person to any Federal, state, or local public office or to an office in a political organization."

Multiple calls to the three men who registered Americans for Responsible Leadership with the Internal Revenue Service were not returned.

"The annoyance is getting calls that you haven't asked to receive and you're getting charged for them," said Joseph Mellon, an attorney for Edholm.

On Sept. 11, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission published an enforcement advisory in light of the 2012 election season.  The advisory reminded campaigns and consumers that pre-recorded voice messages and auto-dialed calls to cellphones and other mobile services, including paging services, are prohibited.  The two exceptions are if the calls are made for emergency purposes or with prior express consent.

Mellon said he believes groups representing either party may have used robocalling to campaign during the last election.

"This is not a partisan issue," he said.

He added that his client was registered to vote, but he is not sure how she may have been targeted to receive a call.

"She doesn't fit the profile of a politically active type of person," he said.

According to the court case, the calls Edholm received were said to be from two people, "Olivia" and "Pam," who stated they represented Americans for Responsible Leadership.

On Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, she received this pre-recorded message on her cellphone, according to the court document:

"Hello, my name Olivia and I'm a volunteer with Americans for Responsible Leadership.  I'm calling because I'm worried about our future.  Twenty-three million Americans are out of work, we're sixteen trillion dollars in debt, and we borrow four billion dollars a day.  It's disappointing, but President Obama's policies haven't worked.  That's why I encourage you to vote for Mitt Romney.  He has real world business experience and knows how to fix the economy.  He can break through the partisan gridlock in Washington because as Governor of Massachusetts, he worked with a legislature that was 90 percent Democrat to reduce the state's debt.  Thank you very much for your time.  Paid for by Americans for Responsible Leadership and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.  www.ARL-national.org."

Mellon said he hopes to learn from the discovery process how many calls were made to cellphones.

If the court finds the group conducted illegal robocalls, the lawsuit states that Edholm "and the other members of the proposed class are entitled to statutory damages of $500.00 for each unlawful robocall and an injunction prohibiting ARL from engaging in similar conduct in the future."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec032012

Romney Gets the Job - As Marriot Board Member

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BETHESDA, Md.) -- Mitt Romney is heading back to work.  

Marriot International announced today that the 2012 Republican presidential nominee will rejoin its board of directors after a nearly two-year hiatus.

Romney previously served on the hotel chain’s board from 1993 to 2002, and then again from 2009 to January 2011, as he readied for his second presidential campaign.

J.W. Marriot, Jr., the corporation’s top chairman, expressed as much confidence in Romney the businessman as he had in Romney the candidate, for whom he was a strong supporter and fundraiser.

“We are delighted that Gov. Romney has agreed to rejoin our board, on which he has served with distinction twice before,” Marriot said in a statement.  “We will benefit from his tremendous energy and capability to guide long-term success in an increasingly complex business environment.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov072012

Who Was the Biggest Financial Loser on Election Day? 

Creatas/Hemera/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson gambled more than $54 million on Tuesday's elections. And he lost.

The quixotic chairman of the Las Vegas Sands gaming company rose to the top of campaign giving in 2012, gaining notoriety for almost single-handedly staking the campaign of Republican primary contender Newt Gingrich and then continuing to make audacious contributions once Gingrich dropped out – with millions more going to GOP nominee Mitt Romney and two super PACs supporting his bid.

Tuesday, he emerged as arguably the single biggest loser of the campaign, financially speaking. In addition to investing in Gingrich and Romney, Adelson and his relatives donated to the U.S. House campaigns of Rep. Allan West of Florida and New Jersey Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and the Senate runs of Virginia's George Allen, Florida's Connie Mack, and Texas's David Dewhurst -- all lost. (Dewhurst never made it past the primary.) His sole consolation was helping fund the defeat of hometown nemesis Shelley Berkley, who lost her bid for a U.S. Senate seat.

Not that Adelson's likely to feel much of a sting. Adelson, 79, owns 49 percent of the Las Vegas Sands casino company, of which he is chairman. The company's operations in Macau and elsewhere in Asia have made it the world's leading gambling operation. His estimated net worth is north of $20.5 billion.

Throughout the campaign, there was widespread speculation about his motives for donating so much this cycle. Adelson is a major supporter of Israel and Israel-related causes. He has also been embroiled in a controversy surrounding his company's sizable operation in Macau, a Chinese island that has outpaced Las Vegas as a source of gambling revenue.

ABC News previously reported that Adelson's company has been the subject of a criminal investigation for the last year by the Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission for alleged bribery of foreign officials, according to corporate documents. A separate civil lawsuit filed by a former Sands executive has further alleged that Adelson ordered him to keep quiet about the casinos' purported "involvement with Chinese organized crime groups." Adelson has publicly dismissed the allegations as frivolous.

In its filings with the SEC, Adelson's company says it became aware of the investigation in February 2011. The company said it "intends to cooperate with the investigation." At a gaming forum in 2011, Adelson said the lawsuit "is not a serious case" and that the federal investigations would find no wrongdoing. "When the smoke clears, I am 1,000 percent positive that there won't be any fire below it."

Sands corporate spokesman Ron Reese did not return messages left at his office Wednesday.

If Adelson's goal in donating so much to the 2012 campaigns was to open a channel of access to high-level federal officials (he has denied he is seeking access), experts said he is now safe in assuming that effort has failed.

"I don't think he has bridges to the Obama administration," said Bill Allison, who follows campaign giving for the Sunlight Foundation.

"One reason we always think people give, especially that much money, is they want access," Allison said. "They want an appointment or an ambassadorship. They want the ability to pick up the phone and call the White House. He definitely won't have that. He has cut himself off by coming out so strongly on one side."

But will he be subject to reprisals, having put so much money behind an effort to defeat President Obama?

A White House spokesman responded to that question succinctly: "No."

Allison said he does not believe Adelson's lost wager will dissuade future wealthy political enthusiasts from throwing large amounts of money behind a political candidate.

"I have no doubt," Allison said, "that some other billionaire will feel like he can make a huge impact on the political system with a small fraction of his fortune."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct112012

Big Bird Costumes Fly Off Shelves After First Presidential Debate

Theo Wargo/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Last year’s hottest Halloween costume trend was the black swan, a dark feathery ballet costume intended to mimic Natalie Portman’s hit movie character.  This year, the hottest Halloween trend is a bird of a different color.

After Big Bird became part of last week’s presidential debate, Big Bird costumes are flying off the shelves.

When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke about cutting funds for PBS during last Wednesday’s debate, he said, “I love Big Bird."  (PBS airs and partially funds Sesame Street, which is Big Bird’s home.)

Since that moment, the 7-foot bird has been a hot topic of discussion, inspiring memes, parodies and even presidential campaign videos.  It has also apparently spurred a new Halloween costume craze.

A representative from costumecraze.com told ABC News that although its original Big Bird costume sold out before the first presidential debate, it saw a 500 percent increase in sales for the women’s “sassy Big Bird adult costume” post-debate.  The “sassy” rendition of the beloved Sesame Street character is a short, yellow-ruffled dress with orange knee-highs and pink accents.  The costume comes complete with a bird headband.

According to Costume Craze, the Big Bird costume’s counterparts -- the sassy Cookie Monster and the sassy Elmo costume -- were selling at the same rate as Big Bird pre-debate but saw no significant sales increase since Romney’s avian name drop.  The store’s representative theorized to ABC News that “the 500 percent increase must be due to Big Bird’s increased popularity post-debate.”

Brad Butler, COO of Halloween Express, has also seen a surge in Big Bird interest in the past week.  Although it has not had a notable increase in sales (it is not licensed to sell the trademarked Big Bird costume), Butler told ABC News that since the debates, it has had more than 400 searches for a Big Bird costume on its site.  The company has also seen an increase in sales of its chicken costume, which resembles the Big Bird suit, and includes the feet and yellow pants.

Costume World's CEO and founder Marilynn Wick told ABC News that Big Bird was a hit.

“We have four store locations, and all of them are selling out of the Big Bird costumes,” Wick said.

The Austin, Texas, store is doing particularly well with the costume, probably because that area is primarily Democratic, mused a company rep.

Wick said that this year’s couples costume winners were Big Bird and Obama, as a pair, and its counterpart, Big Bird and Romney “with a machine gun doing Big Bird in.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct102012

Presidential Prize: Town Hall Attendees Could Win Free Pizza for Life

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With rising fuel prices driving up the cost of food -- and likely people to the polls this November -- Pizza Hut has announced a new contest that somehow encompasses both the economy and politics.

The company says any person attending the Oct. 16 televised town hall debate between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney who asks either candidate "pepperoni or sausage?" will score free pizza for life.

In a press release, Pizza Hut, which is backing its own electoral entity, The Pizza Party, says the question must be asked, "To assure America that the real issues being debated in households across the country every night aren't sidestepped by the candidates any longer."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep022012

NY Attorney General Investigates Tax Strategy of Equity Firms, Including Bain Capital

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating some of the nation's biggest private equity firms, including Bain Capital, founded by Republican nominee Mitt Romney, to determine whether they abused tax strategies in order to pay hundreds of millions of dollars less in taxes, The New York Times reports.

Schneiderman has subpoenaed documents from more than a dozen firms in recent weeks, which would reveal whether the they converted certain management fees received from their investors into fund investments, which are taxed at a significantly lower rate than ordinary income. The tax strategy was revealed last month when hundreds of pages of Bain's internal financial documents were made available online. The records showed that the firm had converted at least $1 billion in fees that normally would have been taxed as ordinary income at 35 percent into investments producing capital gains, which are taxed at the lower rate of 15 percent, according to the Times.

The subpoenas were reportedly issued before the leak of the Bain documents and do not appear to be connected, the paper says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug142012

Obama Blowing Smoke at Coal Industry?

Saul Loeb/AFP/J.D. Pooley/GettyImages(BEALLSVILLE, Ohio) -- Mitt Romney went to coal country today to accuse President Obama of not telling the truth about how he feels about the coal industry and to tout his own support for the workers, many of whom lined up in hard hats to hear him speak.

“How in the world can you go out there and just tell people things that aren’t true,” said Romney in talking about a recently released radio ad from the Obama campaign that drew on comments Romney made regarding the safety of a coal plant in Massachusetts back in 2003.

The Obama radio ad, released last week, seeks to highlight the president’s support of clean coal and new technology, while also drawing on a quote from a 2003 press conference in which Romney said of a Pacific Gas and Electric coal plant, “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant kills people.”

“This is a time for truth. If you don’t believe in coal, if you don’t believe in energy independence for America, then say it,” said Romney, turning the criticism on Obama. “If you believe that the whole answer for our energy needs is wind and solar, why say that. Because I know he says that to some audiences out west. But it’s time to tell the people of America what you believe.”

Romney drew on comments the president made back in 2008, when he suggested those who sought to build coal plants would go bankrupt because they would be “charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” The Obama campaign at the time suggested those comments were taken out of context, but that didn’t stop Romney from bringing the remarks to the forefront in his speech here today.

“One promise he kept was with regard to energy. He said if he’s elected president and his policies get put in place the cost of energy would skyrocket. That’s one he’s kept. He also said you can go out and build a new coal plant if you want but if you do you’ll go bankrupt,” said Romney. “That’s another promise he’s intent on keeping.”

“His vice president said coal is more dangerous than terrorists. Can you imagine that?” said Romney, the crowd erupting into “boos,” as the candidate referenced a 2007 remark by Biden in which he listed coal before terrorism when asked which was more likely to contribute to the death of  your average American.

“This tells you precisely what he actually feels and what he’s done and his policies over the last 3.5 years have put in place the very vision he had when he was running for office. But now he wants to get re-elected,” Romney said of Obama. “And he knows to do so he’s got to win Ohio and to win Ohio he’s got to win Eastern Ohio and he’s got to get the votes of the people in these communities all around us here. And you’re not going to let that happen.”

Asked about Romney’s remarks about coal in 2003 that the Obama campaign pointed to again today in a statement as an example of Romney not being honest about his views on coal, spokesman Kevin Madden said that “any time you’re dealing with any sort of energy exploration, safety is important – no change to that.”

“I think he’s made very clear where he stands on this position, that he believes that it’s an important part of an all of the above energy policy,” said Madden. “If we’re going to bring back the manufacturing sector in this country and continue to grow the economy, that sources of energy like coal – and coal which is very important to this economy and this region of Ohio and other states, that it’s important to be supportive of the coal industry.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug102012

Does President Obama Want to Take Over Other Industries?

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- It’s no secret President Obama is proud of the taxpayer-funded government intervention that rescued U.S. automakers GM and Chrysler back in 2009. He regularly takes credit for the companies’ resurgent profitability and hiring as one of his top achievements.

Now, Republicans say Obama is suggesting on the campaign trail that he wants to do it again, this time in other sectors of the economy, in order to “get the hand of government driving every industry in America.”

“From his failed stimulus bill and Solyndra-esque boondoggles to picking winners and losers at taxpayer expense in the auto bailout, President Obama has pushed aside free-market principles in favor of bigger and more intrusive government,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Thursday after Obama ended his Colorado campaign swing.

Saul and the Romney campaign point to a line Obama used this week on the stump when discussing the auto bailout and his economic vision for the future as the basis for the claim.

In Pueblo, Colo., on Thursday, Obama said, “Now, I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.”

Later in Colorado Springs, Colo., he put it this way: “I want to say what we did with the auto industry, we can do it in manufacturing across America.”

Republicans interpreted Obama as proposing government bailouts for other industries, or at the least a more active federal government role in creating or supporting jobs -- concepts anathema to many conservatives.

The Obama campaign refuted the notion as political spin that does not reflect the president’s sentiment or intention, pointing to full context of the quote as evidence.

Here’s what Obama said, in context:

OBAMA IN PUEBLO: “We’ve got a bunch of examples of the differences, the choice in this election.  When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, more than one million jobs at stake, Gov. Romney said, let’s ‘let Detroit go bankrupt.’  I said I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back and GM is number one again.   So now, I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.  I don’t want those jobs taking root in places like China.  I want them taking root in places like Pueblo.  Gov. Romney brags about his private sector experience, but it was mostly investing in companies, some of which were called “pioneers” of outsourcing.  I don’t want to be a pioneer of outsourcing.  I want to in-source.  I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.”

OBAMA IN COLORADO SPRINGS: “This difference in vision, it shows up on all sorts of issues.  When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, one million jobs at stake, Mr. Romney said, ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt.’  I said, let’s bet on America’s workers.  And we got management and workers to come together, making better cars than ever. And now, GM is number one again and the American auto industry has come roaring back.   So now, I want to say what we did with the auto industry, we can do it in manufacturing across America.  Let’s make sure advanced, high-tech manufacturing jobs take root here, not in China.  Let’s have them here in Colorado.  And that means supporting investment here.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul162012

‘Made In America’ Policies Hugely Popular, Survey Shows

Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While President Obama and Mitt Romney bicker over whose policies will send more jobs overseas, there is one side of the job creation coin that both candidates agree on: that the government should do its best to keep manufacturing jobs in America.

Unlike many of the job proposals both candidates are pushing, “Buy America” policies that encourage the government to buy products that are made in the U.S. whenever possible are hugely popular across party lines, according to a national survey commissioned by the Alliance for American Manufacturing and the United Steelworkers.

“On the federal level if we can expose where we can see tax dollars leaking overseas we can reverse it because there is the political will to do that,” said Scott Paul, the executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

Overwhelming majorities of people from all political parties said they supported “Buy America” policies that  would mandate that taxpayer money can only be used on goods that were made in America.

Nearly nine out of 10 Republicans and Independents and 91 percent of Democrats said they support “Buy America” preferences according to the survey, which was conducted by the Democratic-leaning Mellman Group.

Close to a quarter of the survey respondents said they had heard something about “Buy America” policies from ABC’s Diane Sawyer as part of her “Made in America” series.

About half of the respondents said they have heard Romney talk about made in America policies and 66 percent said they’ve heard Obama push for U.S. made goods.

Paul said the president has done a “better than average” job supporting Buy America policies. All of his campaign swag is made in the U.S.A., as is Romney’s. But four of the former GOP presidential contenders -- Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Herman Cain -- got their campaign t-shirts overseas.

After ABC pointed out the outsourced t-shirts, Gingrich declared it was a fluke and that his campaign tries to buy only items made in America. Cain claimed ignorance, Santorum lamented how hard it was to find a t-shirt that’s made in America these days and Paul was unapologetic.

Congress, on the other hand, has shown an aptitude to take action on Buy America policies. While the divided legislature can hardly agree on anything, both chambers and both parties united to condemn the Olympic Committee for deciding on official USA Team uniforms that were made in China.

“After ABC News broke the story it took 48 hours for the Olympic Committee and Ralph Lauren to announce that they were only making uniforms in the U.S. period,” Scott Paul said.

“I think that you’ll see even more of these types of shaming because they produce results,” Paul said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul162012

Obama Mocks Romney Tax Plan at Playful Town Hall

Jay LaPrete/Getty Images(CINCINNATI) -- At his first town hall meeting of the 2012 campaign, President Obama Monday continued his personal assault on rival Mitt Romney, mocking the presumptive GOP nominee over a new report that estimates his jobs plan would create 800,000 jobs -- overseas.

“There’s a new study out by nonpartisan economists that says Gov. Romney’s economic plan would in fact create 800,000 jobs. There’s only one problem: The jobs wouldn’t be in America,” Obama said, drawing a mix of laughter, boos and applause from the crowd.

“They’d be in other countries. By eliminating taxes on corporations’ foreign income, Gov. Romney’s plan would actually encourage companies to shift more of their operations to foreign tax havens, creating 800,000 jobs in those other countries,” he said.

The study, authored by Reed College economist Kimberly Clausing -- an Obama campaign donor -- appears in the nonpartisan, nonprofit tax analysis publication Tax Notes. She concludes that Romney’s call for a territorial tax system, where companies pay no U.S. tax on foreign profits, would incentivize companies to move work to lower-tax countries abroad.

Left unmentioned by Obama is that several appointed members of his Export Council and the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness -- both meant to advise the president on economic policy -- also support a shift to a territorial tax system to boost economic growth.

Also unmentioned by the president, naturally, is a key Romney talking point that many of Obama's so-called "green initiatives" directly funded jobs and technology growth in other countries. Recently, Gov. Romney slammed Obama for, as one example, channeling more than $500 million of taxpayer-funded stimulus money to electric car company Fisker, which began building vehicles in Finland this year. 

“Our corporate tax rate is the highest in the industrial world and impairs the ability of American businesses to both compete globally and create jobs here at home,” said Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg.  “Mitt Romney has a comprehensive plan to reform the corporate tax code that will lower rates, get rid of incentives for firms to create jobs in other countries, and encourage the kind of economic growth President Obama has been unable to deliver.”

Still, the president argued that Romney’s proposal is part of a larger, divergent economic philosophy that would not benefit American workers or the middle class.

“This shouldn’t be a surprise,” Obama said of Romney’s tax plan, “because Gov. Romney’s experience has been investing in what were called pioneers of the business of outsourcing. Now he wants to give more tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.”

“So I want everybody to understand, Ohio, I’ve got a different theory,” he said. “We don’t need a president who plans to ship more jobs overseas or wants to give more tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Ohio.”

After making his economic pitch, Obama opened up the floor to questions from the lively and supportive audience of 1,200, participating in a playful exchange on topics that ranged from gay rights and energy policy to partisan gridlock in Washington and Girl Scout cookies.

Tony White, who identified himself as a barber and small business owner, asked the president whether he could cut his hair.

“When can I cut your hair?” White said, drawing whoops and cheers from the crowd.

“You know that you would not want a president who was disloyal to his barber,” Obama replied with a big grin, as the crowd cheered. “Right? I mean, a man and his barber, that’s a -- that’s a strong connection.”

“I know, I know,” White replied.

“So I am not going to let you cut my hair, because my barber would be hurt,” quipped Obama.

“Just one time. Just once,” White pleaded.

“Maybe I’ll let you get me aligned a little bit,” Obama said with a chuckle. “Yeah, we could do that.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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