In Bain deals, Mitt Romney made large stock donations to Mormon church
Using a practice that made him eligible for large tax deductions, Mitt Romney gave the Mormon church substantial stock holdings that he obtained through his private equity firm, according to documents filed with the government and to Romney associates.
The tactic used by Romney to help meet his Mormon obligation of “tithing” – in which members donate 10 percent of their income to the church – is a common way for wealthy Americans to make large donations to charities, tax specialists say.
But against the backdrop of a Republican presidential campaign in which Romney is being pressured to reveal his tax returns and further details on his vast wealth, the donations shed light on the tax strategies of Romney and others at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he co-founded in 1984.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is the early frontrunner in the state-by-state contest to pick a Republican candidate to run against Democrat Barack Obama in the November presidential election.
Filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicate that Romney and others at Bain have given “appreciated stock” to the church and various charities, which gives the donors potentially generous tax benefits.
The SEC records, which cover a period from 1997 to 2008, reveal several donations worth millions of dollars of stock in Bain deals to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The records do not say precisely how much was donated by Romney. He left Bain in 1999 but continued to have ties to some of the firm’s deals because part of his estimated $270 million fortune is invested in funds linked to Bain.
His staff acknowledges that Romney, who has been active in the Mormon Church, has donated stock from Bain deals to the church but would not say how much.