(CNN) - Democrats called attention to Mitt Romney's personal financial arrangements on Thursday, suggesting on a conference call with reporters that he was being dishonest with the characterization of his "blind trust," and also claimed he may not be fully retired from the private equity company he founded.
"It's understandable, given the many years that he was involved with Bain and the pride he takes in his service there, that he may have some sort of an arrangement by which Bain believes that he is continuing to render valuable service in some way to them," Bob Bauer, the attorney for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, said.
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He added that "no one is suggesting day-to-day management" is among the "range of ways in which he provides service" to Bain Capital, the firm from which Romney retired in 1999.
Federal tax law suggests this category of investments, known as carried interest, comes "in connection with the performance of services."
For Romney to continue to count income from these investments as carried interest, Bauer and Obama's campaign press secretary, Ben LaBolt, said, he may still be providing some type of service to the company. Otherwise, he suggested, Romney should be taxed differently.
The Internal Revenue Service has interpreted that provision broadly, and that Romney once performed "services" for Bain - when he ran the company, for example - would likely fit that requirement.
A financial disclosure Romney filed with the Federal Election Commission on June 1 reads, "Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way."
Tax documents released by Romney's campaign in January showed his effective tax rate in the two most recent years was approximately 14.5%.
A spokeswoman for Romney called the issue "another tired distraction by the Obama campaign."
The Obama campaign also took issue with the trust arrangement which has controlled Romney's finances for the last decade.
Romney has explained his that if elected president, the wealth of he and his wife would be converted from the current arrangement, overseen by a lawyer he hired, into a blind trust managed under federal ethics rules.
"If I'm president of the United States, I understand that all of my investments, and Ann's, will all be sold and bought again without us having any idea what's been purchased," he said at a March campaign event in Collinsville, Illinois. "So that's how you would hope that we would live without any particular conflict of interest."
In a statement to CNN on Thursday, Romney's spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, underscored a point the candidate has repeatedly made: that he does not control his investments.
"As has been reported for years, Governor and Mrs. Romney's assets are managed on a blind basis. They do not control the investment of these assets, which are under the control and overall management of a trustee," she said.
On the campaign trail in February, Romney explained that he instituted the trust arrangement upon his election as governor of Massachusetts in 2002.
"I said, look, I'm going to take what I have and give it to a blind trustee, someone who manages the money for me, not for me, not - without my knowing where they invest," he said in Portland, Maine. "And that's been the case for ten years."
But this version of blind isn't entirely so, Democrats charged Thursday.
"This gave him the appearance of keeping his investments at arms' length," said LaBolt, the Obama campaign spokesman. Bauer, the attorney, added: "The choice he's made is to have a blind trust that is not quite a blind trust, certainly by federal standards," because he knows who manages his investments.
That Romney continues to profit from Bain's investments – and that he knows this – itself makes the trust less blind, as some of the firm's investments become public.
In January, Romney's trust manager, Brad Malt, told reporters on a conference call that he makes financial decisions regarding Romney's wealth without his input.
"Each of these investments are in a blind trust. This means the decision[s are] made by me not Governor Romney," Malt said. "It is simply inaccurate to report that Gov. Romney has anything to do with these investments."
- CNNMoney.com's Jeanne Sahadi, Charles Riley, and Dan Primack and CNN's Shawna Shepherd and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report