When Mitt Romney was running for president, he mentioned putting his wealth in a blind trust. Is this required when a wealthy person becomes president?

  • 1
    Funny that no one wonders about Hillary's 'fund' in which she and her husband accepts bribes >_< Jul 22, 2016 at 18:54
  • 5
    AFAIK, there's no rules against presidents being wealthy. In fact, most have been.
    – user1530
    Jul 22, 2016 at 19:23
  • 1
    I removed the mentioning of a specific person becoming president, because if there is a rule, this rule would apply to any president.
    – Philipp
    Jul 22, 2016 at 19:55
  • 1
    @Philipp: I would actually argue that it does somewhat. There's a difference between being rich and having large amounts of real estate, as Donald Trump does. But I'll think on it some... Jul 22, 2016 at 20:42
  • @blip - for practical purposes, it's also possibly important to distinguish between passive wealth (e.g., Theodore Roosevelt inherited his, and afaik didn't have active business interests?) and active one (e.g. Romney actively being involved in the investment company). The former offers less conflict of interest possibilities.
    – user4012
    Jan 12, 2017 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


In general, by law, there's no requirements around the president's financial situation.

Having said that, there was a very good reason for Romney to consider the blind trust:

  1. There are very stringent requirements around corruption and conflict of interest. I don't recall this ever being tried on a President but senators and governors were prosecuted for corruption.

  2. Leaving aside legal angle, it definitely would cost a wealthy president a ton of political capital to be accused of doing things that enrich himself. Doesn't even matter if the accusations are accurate - that never stopped a good smear campaign from sticking.

If Romney has no idea how he's invested, he can't be accused of doing things to benefit his finances, either by law or by political opponents (or mass media members, but I repeat myself). So it was a great pre-emptive move on his part to defend against either possibility of damage.

Theoretically, Romney may have had other possible concerns on legal/regulatory front that warranted a blind trust, because he worked in a financial industry in an investment firm. The industry is regulated even more than others, both in terms of corruption and conflict of interest.

  • 1
    ironically, from my non-lawyer perspective, people working in the industry (especially financial) seem to have a drastically heavier legal and regulatory burden compared to elected politicians.
    – user4012
    Jul 23, 2016 at 2:09

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