Romney and the Olympics: Another Scandal?

Newt Gingrich’s handlers should be sued for political malpractice. The time to raise the Damon fraud story was earlier; now, insofar as it’s getting any press at all, it’s as one more Gingrich attack on Romney. So far, Romney hasn’t even bothered to respond to the charges, or if he has I can’t see a mention of it.

There’s another scandal lurking in the background. Many years ago, in a dentist’s office, I read one of the best-reported political corruption stories ever written. It was a Sports Illustrated expose of the funding of the Salt Lake City Olympics. Apparently there were swaps of private land for federally-owned land, on insanely favorable terms for the landowners. That’s on top of the nearly $1.5 billion in federal earmarks that directly paid for the Games.

This story might be worth reviving, since Romney has used his Olympics experience as evidence of his managerial skill and devotion to public service. It might also be interesting to look at how many of the rich people Romney managed to further enrich at taxpayer expense subsequently donated to his various political ventures.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

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Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.