Romney's Fishy Olympic Past Still Pays Off

Players in bribery scandal became big Mitt supporters
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2012 5:45 PM CDT
Romney's Fishy Olympic Past Still Pays Off
Mitt Romney pauses while speaking to a group of former Salt Lake City Olympics committee members, marking the tenth anniversary of the games, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

We all know Mitt Romney ran a pretty good Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City 10 years ago. But few recall the bribery scandal that preceded him, or know that its major players have become significant Romney supporters, the Daily Beast reports. Businessman David Simmons, who pleaded guilty on tax charges connected to the scandal, and contractor Sead Dizdarevic, who made illegal payments to Romney's predecessors, have since given him up to $1.5 million.

The Beast focuses on Simmons, who dodged a multi-count felony indictment by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor, and got easy treatment when Romney refused to discuss the matter with reporters. Simmons' family businesses—which have deep ties to Utah's Mormon community—likely reaped a windfall from the Games that made Romney donations all the easier. Simmons admits he was "incredibly grateful" for Romney's effort to "save" the Olympics, but the Beast smells a whitewash: "If presidential campaigns are character tests, Romney’s starts in Salt Lake." (More Mitt Romney stories.)

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