POSTED: Monday, July 16, 2012 - 4:00am
UPDATED: Monday, July 16, 2012 - 4:14am
CNN — Mitt Romney's accounts in offshore tax havens would have repercussions in essential governing decisions if he's elected president, a top adviser to President Barack Obama claimed Sunday.
David Axelrod said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Romney's accounts in places like Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda would cloud his decision-making on reforming the tax code, and that the current president had avoided such conflicts of interest in his own investing choices.
"We lose $100 billion a year to offshore tax shelters," Axelrod told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. "We've learned from the limited disclosure that he's made that Gov. Romney takes advantage of these. He had a Swiss bank account. He has a Bermuda holding company."
He continued, "When we go to reform the tax code, how does that inform his judgment? He's told us his business experience is the lens through which he's going to look at these decisions. We're getting a look at that experience, and people need to gauge, is that the kind of experience we want in the Oval Office?"
Obama, Axelrod said, could have taken advantage of the same loopholes that allow Romney to place his fortune in overseas accounts.
"I'm sure he could have a Swiss bank account if he wanted it," Axelrod said. "He could have a Bermuda holding company. He could put tens of millions of dollars in the Caymans. He could use loopholes in the tax law to have a $100 million IRA. The president could do those things, but he doesn't do those things. He looks at this through a different lens."
In defending himself against attacks about his offshore accounts, Romney has repeatedly pointed out that his investments are held in a blind trust, and that he has no involvement whatsoever in where and how his money is managed. He has not, however, agreed to release his tax returns beyond 2010 and 2011, despite calls from Democrats -- and some Republicans -- to release more.
On Sunday, Axelrod said such limited disclosure only raised more questions about Romney's financial situation.
"His father said if you release one year, it could be a fluke, it could be just for show," Axelrod said, referring to George Romney, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination ahead of the 1968 election.
Axelrod continued, "I can only conclude, with all these Republicans asking him to release these returns, that whatever is in those returns would be more damaging to his campaign than simply not releasing them."
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