Romney fundraises with Libor fixers

Romney collects despite Libor scandal; Obamacare repeal would cost billions; and other top Wednesday stories


Romney’s Libor of love: Mitt Romney arrived in London this morning where he will watch the Olympic Games and hold fundraisers, including two with bankers and lobbyists involved in the expanding Libor rate-fixing scandal. London-based bank Barclays paid a $450 million fine earlier this month for manipulating the Libor, a rate that determines trillions of dollars of loans around the globe. The company’s ex-CEO resigned both his post at the company and his hosting duties of a Romney fundraiser, but Barclays lobbyist Patrick Durkin remains a co-chair of  the Romney fundraisers, and there are others with ties to the scandal as well. Some involved in the scandal could face jail time in the future.

No one trusts Wall Street: Despite the demise of the Occupy movement, Americans’ confidence in big banks has continued to erode, even as the economy has begun to recover, with a new survey showing just 21 percent saying they trust the financial system. It’s the lowest level the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School survey has found since March of 2009. A majority of respondents trust community banks, but fewer than one in four trust big national banks.

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The cost of repeal: In Republicans’ ongoing fight against the Affordable Care Act, one of their chief arguments is that we can’t afford to let the law stand. But according to a new report from the official scorekeeper of how much things cost on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Budget Office, the opposite may be true. An estimate released by the CBO yesterday afternoon found that repealing the healthcare law would increase the deficit by $109 billion over the next decade.

The estimate also found that states opting out of the Medicaid expansion portion of the law in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling will make Obamacare cost less, but will mean it will cover fewer people. The CBO estimates that about 3 million who would have received coverage will now not, thanks to Republican governors determined to sabotage the law. That means Obamacare may fall short of its goal of universal coverage, but the decreased coverage would also save the federal government $84 billion over 11 years.

Adelson-watch: Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has anted up another $6.5 million, this time on a Republican Jewish group that is seeking to sway Jewish voters in swing states. The Republican Jewish Coalition “plans to begin a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign in the coming weeks called ‘My Buyer’s Remorse,’ targeting voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, aides said. The campaign uses testimonials from people who say they regret supporting Mr. Obama because of his economic policies and his posture toward Israel, in hopes of cutting into the wide advantage Democrats have held over Republicans among Jewish voters,” the New York Times reports. Adelson has pledged to spend as much as $100 million on the election this year, but at this pace, he’ll far exceed that by November.

Solar boost: The Obama administration has launched a big new solar power initiative, opening up 285,000 acres of public lands in six Western states to solar power projects as part of an energy plan announced yesterday. The Obama administration has already approved 17 solar projects on public lands, where none existed before the president took office. Even so, the dream is fairly modest: The Interior Department hopes that by 2030, the plan announced yesterday will generate 23,700 megawatts of power, enough for 7 million homes.

Alex Seitz-Wald
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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