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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bundle of secrets

He won't tell you what tax breaks or programs he will cut and now Mitt Romney is clamming up on who will benefit from his tax cuts for the rich.

That's because Romney is refusing to release a list of "bundlers," the people who solicit the big-dollar donations that have become the life blood of political campaigns. Barack Obama makes the names public and George Bush even offered special recognition by naming them Pioneers and Rangers.

And making them ambassadors or offering them special access. Not to mention their incomes likely qualify them for the massive new tax cuts Romney is proposing.

The Romney campaign is within its legal rights to withhold the names, but the move is in keeping with the campaign's opacity. Remember, this is a candidate running on vague promises that waggish headline writers declare will repeal the laws of arithmetic.

Romney supporters wave off the secrecy as a kerfuffle because "who does the asking doesn’t matter much. What counts is who is writing the big checks." Even though they also write the checks.

Not so, says Columbia University Law professor Richard Briffault:
"In some ways bundlers are more important, or at least as important, as the donors themselves, because someone who is able to bundle half a million dollars together has influence."
What is truly important is the entire tone of secrecy from the Romney campaign, whether it is budget or tax specifics or the candidate's own tax returns. Romney's pitch is now premised on "trust me," a highly dangerous concept from a candidate who has no core beliefs but will say or do whatever he thinks is necessary to close a sale.

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