Does Mitt Romney Have an In-Law Problem?

Davies told the Journal the accusations against him were "spurious," adding: "When a company fails, there's a lot of finger pointing."

Bain also invested in a troubled internet start-up that employed Ryan Davies from 1997 to 2001, a Utah-based firm called Found Inc. that struggled and was later purchased by another firm. In a biographical write-up Davies published as promotional material for another venture, he said he helped Found Inc. raise "over $46 million in private equity from Bain Capital, Accel Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Sun Microsystems and others."

Romney's in-laws continued to find opportunities in their famous relative's orbit. While he headed the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics, the organization hired a start-up company that Ryan Davies helped oversee, called 02 Blue. The company helped buy and sell mobile emissions credits, and Davies told ABC News he hoped the work for the Olympics would put his company on the map. It didn't -- the company shut its doors not long after. Davies told ABC News that he landed the Olympics contract without his uncle's help. "This is not anything I went directly to him about," he said.

When Romney made his first bid for president in 2007, his campaign hired Rod Davies's importing company, Asian Sources LLC, to supply bobblehead dolls crafted in the candidate's likeness. Federal Election Commission records show the campaign paid Asian Sources $30,000, according to a review by the Center for Responsive Politics. Top Romney fundraiser Spencer Zwick signed letters that accompanied the dolls when they were sent out to scores of donors "as a token of our appreciation." Zwick called the bobblehead doll a "can't-get-it-in-stores" collectable.

Roderick Davies identifies himself on an online resume as heading business development for the green energy firm his son Ryan launched in 2008, called REDCO. Ryan was apparently quick to tout his Romney connections, even when no family help was forthcoming, according to Davies' former clients and investors. REDCO's business was to fund alternative energy projects, such as wind and solar generating plants. In 2009, Davies traveled to the small Mojave Desert town of Needles, Calif., to pitch city officials on a new method of converting the sun's rays into electricity. It was in a slide presentation to the Needles council, obtained from the city through a public records request, that Davies identified Josh Romney as the vice president of business development for his Utah firm.

One top Needles official told ABC News that Davies repeatedly referenced his ties to Mitt Romney, and those connections brought Davies credibility.

"It was my personal hope that if we built this, that [Mitt] Romney would come out here and help get politicians here to draw attention to it so we could build more like it, but obviously, that never happened," the official said, asking that his name not be used because the city signed an agreement not to disparage REDCO and he did not have permission to speak publicly about the matter.

Davies also touted Josh Romney's purported involvement in an August 17, 2009 email to investors, obtained by ABC News, saying Romney would be the company's "business development advisor." Andy Neff, a boyhood friend of Davies, said he put $150,000 of his own money into REDCO with the impression that Mitt Romney himself might be looking over Davies's shoulder. Neff also said he persuaded one of his biggest clients to invest far more than $600,000, saying that he didn't think "my client would have even spoken to him if he wasn't associated with Mitt Romney."

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