Have Major Donor's Billions in Fines Influenced Romney's View of Hispanics and the 47%
Since the video of Romney’s fundraiser was released, he has been spent most of his time courting Hispanic voters. He’s held a Juntos con Romney rally, issued a press release for a Hispanic outreach rally and made a speech at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
One reason may be that those who concerned about discrimination may be turned off by his fundraiser video comments relating to Hispanics. Below is the text of his comments relating to Hispanic issues.
Romney: … The other is just about my heritage—my dad, you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company, but he was born in Mexico. And had he been born of Mexican parents I’d have a better shot at winning this, but he was unfortunately born of Americans living in Mexico. They’d lived there for a number of years, and, uh, I mean I say that jokingly, but it’d be helpful if they’d been Latino…
Audience: Pull an Elizabeth Warren!
Audience: Pull an Elizabeth Warren.
Romney: That’s right. Those that don’t know Elizabeth Warren—she’s the woman who’s running for US Senate in Massachusetts, who said that she’s Cherokee, has put in her application over the years that she’s Cherokee, and Harvard put down that she’s one of their minority faculty members. It turns out that at most she’s 1/32 Cherokee, and even that can’t be proven. So, in any event, yeah, I can put down my dad was born in Mexico and leave it at that. But his dad was in construction, very successful in Mexico, but in America went broke more than once. …
Romney: I say that because there’s the percent that’s, “Oh, you were born with a silver spoon,” you know, “You never had to earn anything,” and so forth. And, and frankly, I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you could have, which is to get born in America. I’ll tell ya, there is—95 percent of life is set up for you if you’re born in this country. And I remember going to—sorry just to bore you with stories—but I was, when I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory there, employed about 20,000 people, and they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married, and they worked in these huge factories, they made various small appliances, and as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with little bathrooms at the end with maybe ten rooms. And the rooms, they had 12 girls per room, three bunk beds on top of each other. You’ve seen them.
Audience: Oh, yeah.
Romney: And around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire, and guard towers. And we said, “Gosh, I can’t believe that you, you know, you keep these girls in.” They said, “No, no, no—this is to keep other people from coming in. Because people want so badly to come work in this factory that we have to keep them out, or they’ll just come in here and start working and try and get compensated. So, we—this is to keep people out.” And they said, “Actually, Chinese New Year, is the girls go home, sometimes they decide they’ve saved enough money and they don’t come back to the factory.” And he said, "And so on the weekend after Chinese New Year, there’ll be a line of people hundreds long outside the factory, hoping that some girls haven’t come back and they can come to the factory. And so, as we were experiencing this for the first time, for me to see a factory like this in China some years ago, the Bain partner I was with turned to me and said, “You know, 95 percent of life is settled if you’re born in America.” This is an amazing land. And what we have is unique, and fortunately it is so special we’re sharing it with the world. I’m concerned about the future, but also optimistic as I said, and I look forward to getting America back on track, and having people plan on bringing their ideas and their dreams to this country. We get big dreamers, by the way. Oh, I just, we didn’t talk about immigration today. Gosh, I’d love to bring in more legal immigrants that have skill and knowledge. I’d like to staple a green card to every Ph.D. in the world and say, “Come to America, we want you here.” Instead, we make it hard for people who get educated here or elsewhere to make this their home. Unless, of course, you have no skill or experience, in which case you’re welcome to cross the border and stay here for the rest of your life.
It’s very strange. It’s run by people who don’t understand the words “global competition of ideas,” and our idea has to win, but only if America reigns strong. But with that introduction, I’m going to turn to you for counsel, advice, or questions. Policy questions. Wanna talk about tax policy? Or political questions? How I win? Please.
You know, some of these things are complex enough it’s not easy for people to understand, but your point of saying, bankruptcy usually concentrates the mind. Yeah, George.
Audience: Individuals in this room obviously are your supporters. I am very concerned that the average American, who doesn’t know you, there’s a terrible misconception. And I spend numerous hours trying to – I hate * the * . Years and years ago, I called George Bush Sr., and he had helped me in my campaign in Massachusetts when I ran for Senate. I told him that there’s a guy named Clinton who’s running for the following reasons. And he laughed. Right now, I’m very concerned…Women would not want to be involved for you. Hispanics, majority of them do not want to vote for you. College students don’t. After talking to them, and explaining and rationalizing on a one-on-one basis, we are able to change their opinions. But on a mass level, what do you want us to do, this group here, as your emissaries, going out to convert these individuals to someone who’s obviously going to be such an incredible asset to this country. We want you.
Audience: But what do we do? Just tell us what we can help…
Romney: I have—I have some good news for you. It’s not impossible. Now, the reason I say that is for instance, the New York Times had a poll last week, the New York Times and NBC, and I was leading by two points among women. All right. Now, the president came out and said this is an outrageous poll, they don’t know what they were doing—by the way, the polls at this stage make no difference at all—but the point is, women are open to supporting me. They like the president *, but they’re disappointed. They’re disappointed with the jobs they’re seeing for their kids, they’re disappointed with their own economic standing right now. So we can capture women’s votes, we’re having a much harder time with Hispanic voters. And if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting bloc has in the past, why we’re in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation.
Different voice: Exactly.
Audience: Pick him up!
Romney: And so… We have some great—we have some great Hispanic leaders in our party who will help communicate what our party stands for, and what I think, frankly, what I need you to do is to raise millions of dollars, because the president’s going to have about $800 to $900 million. And that’s—that’s by far the most important thing you could do.
Romney: … And then I quote Marco Rubio, I tell in my speeches, I say, Marco Rubio—I think what I said would be *…I also think I said that at a fundraising event earlier today, but I did when I was in Empire… * …I just said Sen. Rubio says that when he grew up here, poor, that they looked at people that had a lot of wealth, and his parents never once said, “We need some of what they have, they should give us some.” Instead they said that you work hard and go to school, someday we might be able to have enough. That’s…[Applause.] I will continue to do that, how much of that gets picked up, there are so many things that don’t get picked up in a campaign because people aren’t watching them. By the way, most people don’t watch during the summer. I said we’re going to go into a season here starting with the beginning of June with almost no attention paid, then after Labor Day, in September and October, that’s when it’ll get fun.
Audience: For the last three years, all everybody’s been told is, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you.” How are you going to do it, in two months before the elections, to convince everybody you’ve got to take care of yourself?
Romney: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, he starts off with a huge number.
These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people.
I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not."
At this point there is a gap in the tape which might be problematic. However, Romney has endorsed his comments on the tape. He stated that what he said was not elegant and stated that he was speaking the cuff (video). However, he continued to argue that many Americans are dependent on government. However, today he said he would represent the 100%.
The recording shows that Romney believes that people are getting ahead due to preferential hiring for minorities as his Elizabeth Warren comments illustrate. He also indicates that he believes people vote not on the issues but on race. That is, he says that if he were a Latino he believes more Latinos would vote for him.
“really believe that racial and ethnic minorities have it easy in this country?”
Next, he states that he is concerned that Hispanics will become a Democratic voting block. It’s clear from the tape that audience members want him to pick Marco Rubio as VP. In response he’s asked a question about people who have been told for the past three years by the President that we will take of care of you. It’s in that context that Romney made his 47% of people are dependent upon the government comments. That is, when he thinks of Hispanics he thinks of dependency?
Perhaps the most perceptive observations about Romney’s comments came from Jonathan Chait from the New York Magazine. He argues that Romney believes in free market fairness and not government intervention in matters relating to discrimination or consumer exploitation. The comments on the video about the girls who work twelve hour days seems to indicate his true feelings about how he would deal with labor and consumer issues.
“Oh, I just, we didn’t talk about immigration today. Gosh, I’d love to bring in more legal immigrants that have skill and knowledge. … Unless, of course, you have no skill or experience, in which case you’re welcome to cross the border and stay here for the rest of your life.”
Again, he seems to be arguing that Hispanics shouldn’t be here because they have no skills and experience.
Romney has publicly endorsed Arizona’s law that allows police to id Hispanics and he supports self-deportation.
Below are his previous public comments about the Sonya Sotomayor nomination.
“The nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is troubling. Her public statements make it clear she has an expansive view of the role of the judiciary. Historically, the Court is where judges interpret the Constitution and apply the law. It should never be the place “where policy is made,” as Judge Sotomayor has said. Like any nominee, she deserves a fair and thorough hearing. What the American public deserves is a judge who will put the law above her own personal political philosophy."
Romney also doesn’t seem to believe in the abilities of impoverished Palestinians either.
Are Romney’s views supported by his campaign’s largest donors? Romney’s top seven known contributors are all banks: Goldman Sachs $676,080, JP Morgan and Chase $513,647,Co $520,299, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America $510,72 , Credit Suisse Group $427,560, Citigroup $363,015, Barclays $349,400, and Wells Fargo $320,025. The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates. Thanks to Citizen’s United, we don’t know how much the [corporation itself contributed to Super PACs.
The next largest campaign funder is Kirkland and Ellis $309,042. Kirkland and Ellis is a lawfirm that defends corporations against lawsuits including race discrimination. Why would these organizations support Romney and not President Obama.
What the Department of Justice been doing over the past three-and-a-half years is to successfully sue banks banks and lenders for discriminatory and fraudulent practices to the tune of billions of dollars. For example, the justice department recently settled a lawuite with Midwest BankCentre regarding alleged lending discrimination in St. Louis for $1.45 Million to ensure equal lending services to African-Americans. It’s clear why these banks would like a change in the oval office. Perhaps Romney’s most telling statement was when to the delight of his audience he said he would “clean house at the SEC.” and called Eric Holder the most corrupt attorney general in history. Below is a brief list of some of the largest lawsuits that his largest financial backers have lost. Below is a list of lawsuits won by the Justice Department against Romney’s backers.
In February, the Department of Justice Reached Agreement with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Company, Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. (formerly GMAC) to conduct a full review, overseen by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, to determine whether any servicemembers were foreclosed on in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) since Jan.1, 2006 in order to compensate servicemembers for wrongful foreclosures agreements reached as part of the $25 billion Federal-State Mortgage Servicing Agreement. Bank of America also had to pay part of the $25 billion. This settlement has longterm implications for the banks.
Goldman Sachs is currently involved in a gender discrimination lawsuit.
Morgan Stanely settled a race discrimination charge against Hispanics last week. The settlement established a $16 million fund, of which $14 million will be divided among class members who submitted claims. Under the settlement, Morgan Stanley will spend approximately $7.5 million on diversity programs, including programs aimed at training and recruiting black and Hispanic financial advisors and trainees over the next five years. In addition, Morgan Stanely settled a EEOC gender discrimination lawsuit for $54 million in 2004 and $46 million in 2007. Morgan Stanley is also on trial for age discrimination.
JP Morgan had to pay $228 million this year for a bid rigging scheme that was prosecuted by the Department of Justice and for a disability discrimination lawsuit in 2006. The EEOC has also sued the company for gender discrimination.
Bank of America has been the hardest hit by Department of Justice lawsuits due to their purchase of Countrywide. Bank of America agreed to pay $335 million to resolve allegations that its engaged in a widespread pattern of discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers. In addition, two race bias lawsuits were filed against the company in July. Bank of America also recently settled charges relating to discriminating against disabled borrowers.
In 2010, Bank of America was the fifth-largest company in the US after receiving a $45 billion dollar bailout but thanks to Dodd-Frank revenues from hidden fees and a failed attempt to charge $5 per transaction for debit fees customers saw the company drop from 5th to 13th place in 2012. Worse yet, one company that moved ahead of them on the list was President Obama’s bailed out GM (now at the fifth spot). Romney stated he wouldn’t have bailed out GM.
In February 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) reached a settlement where Bank of America paid $150 million to settle SEC charges that the company failed to properly disclose employee bonuses and financial losses at Merrill Lynch before shareholders approved the merger of the companies in December 2008. President Obama’s Federal Trade Commission settled with Bank of America for $108 million for struggling homeowners who were overbilled for services such as lawn care and home inspections. Bank of America thought it was only going to have to pay $33 million but Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said it was too little]. Bill Clinton appointed Judge Rakoff.
Bank of American had to shell out another million in a a lawsuit filed by the Department of Labor when Countrywide Financial Corporation was found guilty of improperly firing a whistleblower who conducted internal investigations that “revealed widespread and pervasive wire, mail and bank fraud” at the lender.
Bank America also had to pay 8.5 billion for Countrywide allegedly deceiving investors about the quality of the borrowers and collateral behind the securitized mortgages they purchased.
The Labor Department ordered Bank of America, to pay a former executive whistleblower roughly $930,000 and to reinstate her.
This year Wells Fargo paid $175 million for African American and Hispanic discrimination claims against wholesale borrowers. In 2011, Wells Fargo was settled a gender discrimination case for $32 million.
There have also been criminal convictions against CFO’s of banks and individual lenders have also been jailed for fraud.
In addition, the Attorney General has proposed new policies to help Hispanic and African American borrowers
Romney’s national co-chair Tim Palenty stepped down today to become a lobbyist for banks that in the past has focused on repealing Dodd-Frank.
by Todd Miller
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