R. Bradford Malt

Article excerpt

Byline: Daniel Gross

Meet the man who knows all about the candidate's taxes.

There's one person who knows precisely how much Mitt Romney paid in taxes in 2008 and 2009--but he's not talking. At least not about the returns.

"I'm a little surprised to see me in this arena," says R. Bradford Malt.

Malt, the 58-year-old manager of Romney's voluminous fortune, is a lawyer in the pre-2008 Romney image: patrician, Boston-based, Harvard-pedigreed (undergrad '76, law '79), and a real businessman. Since 2004, Malt has been chairman of Ropes & Gray, with 977 attorneys, nearly $1 billion in annual revenues, and offices in 10 countries. Like Romney, his pre-2008 politics were decidedly moderate. The self-described Rockefeller Republican and his wife, Sharon, each donated $2,300 in the 2008 cycle to Barack Obama's presidential campaign--and nothing to John McCain's.

Malt began doing legal work for Bain Capital, which Romney founded, in the early 1990s. When Romney began running for public office, he entrusted his personal fortune to Malt, who now manages two blind trusts, one for Mitt and one for Ann, the family's Tyler Charitable Foundation, and Mitt Romney's IRA. Combined, that's at least $290 million of assets. "Governor Romney trusts him immensely, not just his work ethic and capabilities, but also his character," says campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul.

As such Malt occupies a position of privilege--and some peril. He was the guy who in 2010 closed a Swiss account Romney owned. When the candidate released more than 500 pages of tax returns in July, Malt was the primary speaker at the press conference. …