Mitt Romney will show his true colors tonight, when he slips behind closed doors in a foreign capital to collect money from international bankers who are mired in scandal.
The presidential contender is officially in London to cheer on the US team in the Olympics. But Romney doesn’t always cheer for Team USA. When it comes to global economics, Romney remains very much the “vulture capitalist” his Republican primary foes decried. And tonight, he’ll be swooping into central London to party with masters of the universe who know no country—and, it would appear, no ethical bounds.
London is abuzz over the Libor (London InterBank Offered Rate) scandal, which saw some of the biggest banks in the world report false interest rates in order to fool investors and game the international economy. Bob Diamond, the top man in Barclays Bank, had to resign from his position after that bank paid almost $500 million in fines.
Not to worry. Another Barclay’s insider (chief lobbyist Patrick Durkin) took Diamond’s place as a co-chair for the Romney event, along with officials of Bank of Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Blackstone and Wells Fargo Securities—and, of course, Bain Capital Europe.
As the investigation of banks implicated in Libor rate-fixing expands, Romney’s decision to go ahead with the London fundraising events is an act either of boldness or recklessness. The presumptive Republican nominee for president seems to think he can get away with raising as much as $2 million at a series of fund-raising events held on foreign soil. The cheapest of Romney’s “lavish” London events has a $2,500-per-person entry fee, while the evening gathering where the most scandal-plagued of international bankers will mingle with their favorite American charges from $25,000-per-person to $75,000 a head.