Documents: Obama trade nominee has $500,000 in Caymans
June 4th, 2013
09:39 PM ET
11 months ago

Documents: Obama trade nominee has $500,000 in Caymans

(CNN) – President Barack Obama's nominee to become U.S. trade representative has almost half a million dollars in an investment account registered in the Cayman Islands, according to disclosure documents submitted to the Senate committee preparing to weigh his confirmation this week.

Michael Froman, currently serving as Obama's deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, was nominated to the trade post last month.

Republicans have already begun to cry foul, saying Obama's choice of Froman – along with his selection of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Commerce Secretary-nominee Penny Pritzker – is hypocritical given his vilification of Mitt Romney's offshore accounts during the 2012 presidential campaign.

Before working for the White House, Froman was an executive at Citigroup and was chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin in the 1990s.

A 2011 document submitted to the Senate Finance Committee showed Froman had a little more than $490,800 held in Citigroup's CVCIGP II U.S. Employee L.P. fund, based at the Ugland House in Grand Cayman.

Ugland House is a building given as the legal address for thousands of investment funds and businesses. The islands themselves are known as a tax haven for U.S. investors and companies.

On Tuesday, Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican member of the finance panel, wrote in a statement that "President Obama's hypocrisy is piling up with his picks for top posts in his administration."

Grassley noted that in 2009, Obama called Ugland House "the biggest tax scam in the world."

The Iowa lawmaker pointed to two past Obama nominees – Lew and Pritzker – as more examples of what he said was hypocrisy. Lew and Pritzker both faced questions about their offshore accounts during confirmation hearings earlier this year.

The issue of offshore tax havens became an issue in last year's presidential campaign, when Democrats repeatedly slammed GOP nominee Mitt Romney for stashing some of his wealth outside of the United States.

Obama's focus has been on wealthy Americans who store money in so-called tax havens to avoid large bills, not specifically on investment funds that are housed offshore.

Bobby Whithorne, a White House spokesman, said Froman "played no role in creating, managing or operating the fund."

"Mike Froman has paid every penny of his taxes and reported all of the income, gains and losses from the investment on his tax returns. The existence of this investment is not news," Whithorne wrote, adding that Froman had agreed to divest from the fund within 90 days of being confirmed as trade representative.

Froman's nomination garnered support from public figures across the political spectrum ranging from union presidents, to the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a frequent White House foe.

CNN's Jessica Yellin and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: President Obama • Trade
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. NameTodd A

    Impeach the jerk now. Not now, RIGHT NOW

    June 4, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Tiz

    Slime..... Thanks, Barry....

    June 4, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  3. art

    Since Mitt Romney's 100 million in off shore accounts didn't matter, then THIS DON'T MATTER. CNN, get it together!!!

    June 4, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  4. Oh For Pete's Sake!

    Wow! Obama and his bunch of shifty gangsters hammered Romney for the VERY same thing! This man is laughing in decent Americans' faces time after time.
    Nobody mentioned that Kerry, Pelosi and the Clintons etc etc do the same thing. They are a disgusting lot of liars and hypocrites.
    Obama is the son of a British man who never applied for or took American citizenship. According to the Constitution he did NOT qualify for the Presidency of the United States of America. To qualify to run as President the nominee must be born of Naturalized American parents OR a non-American parent who has applied for and HAD American citizenship for 13 years.

    June 4, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  5. Ed1

    No surprise here just paying off election debts nothing new.

    June 4, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  6. HenryMiller

    Why am I not surprised?

    June 4, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  7. Mark

    American Politics: If you do it, I hate it. If we do it, I'm fine with it.

    June 4, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  8. Getoverit

    Show us your tax returns!

    June 4, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  9. Nigel Chichester

    Not sure why this is a big deal, there are many Americans that have offshore accounts. As long as his investments from this account aren't made in the US, they can't be taxed by the US. People shouldn't slam Romney for this either, offshore banking and investments are a good way to protect your money from the US as you are taxed on your citizenship, not your residency. As long as he tells the government he has an offshore account and he doesn't try to hide the funds, he's perfectly fine.

    June 5, 2013 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  10. Nothing At All

    Until the tax laws change a person would be stupid not to take advantage of the tax advantages.

    June 5, 2013 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  11. Iamnotfooled

    Well I guess another scandal is looming. Does anyone know how much ISSA has in the Caymans? I heard he is worth 450 million.

    June 5, 2013 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  12. Gurgyl

    Bring all that money back to USA and tax.

    June 5, 2013 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  13. Scott

    Another fat cat politician so out of touch with the middle class. Liberals always complain about the ol;d rich white men of the Republicans that are out of touch with the American citizen. Seems the Democrats are just as bad. Just shows despite the lip service Obama has no concern for the Average person. Democrats party of the rich fat cats.

    June 5, 2013 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  14. Marie MD

    Seems that a LOT of Americans (1-2%) have a lot of money to have funds outside the US or go on "survivor" trips with their sons.
    The rethugs better keep their mouths shut because their twit had money all around the world but that was okay because he was running for the presidency. I hear he has a book out and it shows what he was going to do with the country if elected. Scary as heck!

    June 5, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |