WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday disclosed selling his stakes in dozens of companies over the past year, including investments in several overseas companies that might have undermined his increasingly tough campaign vows to create American jobs and crack down on foreign competitors.
In Ohio and other battleground states, Romney is making an aggressive appeal to working-class voters by promising to punish China for alleged currency manipulation and violations of intellectual property protections and other laws. Criticism of President Barack Obama's handling of trade issues also is part of Romney's offensive.
The new disclosure report shows that Romney has sold all of his private, independently owned stock in foreign companies. But he still has a stake in foreign companies through investments in Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded in Boston in 1984. Citing Bain confidentiality requirements, Romney has declined to disclose the nature of those investments.
The sales included shares in Chinese real estate and educational firms and in Wal-Mart de Mexico, which has come under scrutiny amid bribery allegations. Romney also sold stock in dozens of name-brand U.S. firms, including McDonald's, Google, Apple and JPMorgan Chase, the records show.
Campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said that the Romney family's assets "are managed on a blind basis" by a Boston-based attorney. "They do not control the investment of these assets, which are under the control and overall management of a trustee," Saul said.
If elected, Romney would be among the wealthiest individuals ever to win the presidency, with a net worth estimated in the report of up to $255 million. The overall figures are little changed from what Romney reported last year.
In records submitted to the Office of Government Ethics, presidential candidates must provide only broad value ranges for their holdings, making determination of a precise net worth impossible. Forbes magazine recently estimated Romney's net worth at $230 million, while his campaign characterized the amount at $190 million to $250 million.
Obama and the first lady, Michelle, reported assets worth between $2.6 million and $8.3 million in a finance disclosure filed last month. The couple had up to $1 million in a JPMorgan asset management account; $1 million to $5 million in U.S. Treasury notes; and a mortgage of between $500,000 and $1 million on their Chicago home.