A lot of attention has been focused lately on Mitt Romney’s offshore finances in places like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
But the word Bermuda pops up on the financial disclosure forms of one of President Obama’s top advisers too.
Valerie Jarrett’s financial disclosure form filed May 4 lists a line of credit from a Bermuda insurance company valued between $100,000 and $250,000.
“This is a letter of credit disclosed in the liability section of the personal financial disclosure form, meaning it is a potential obligation, not an asset,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement. “In fact, a letter of credit is something that you pay for – as you can see from the form there is a fee associated with it. A letter of credit is issued by a financial institution as a guarantee to cover a potential liability, and in this case was obtained by real estate developers in Chicago for properties located in the United States.”
Before the White House replied to us, we spoke to tax experts who said the filing could be completely innocuous. It appears that Jarrett borrowed money from JPMorgan Chase, which has a subsidiary in Bermuda — not unusual for insurance companies that want to lay off some of their risks. It doesn’t mean that Jarrett sought any sort of transaction from Bermuda, but rather that the bank could be using its Bermuda subsidiary on credit forms.
In other words, routine credit card statements can include references to Bermuda simply because insurance companies have subsidiaries there.
Jarrett’s filing is available here — the part with “Bermuda” on it is in Schedule C.
Jarrett is one of Obama’s closer advisers and has been with him since he was sworn in. In a lengthy New York Times profile in 2009, an Obama campaign official said that “there are two people he’s not going to say no to: Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama.”