When Romney "Saved" the Olympics
Charles Pierce rediscovered this Sports Illustrated article from 2001 about Romney’s time as president of the organizing committee for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. It turns out, Romney isn’t always opposed to federal handouts, at least when they can be used to help his friends:
Is this a great country or what? A millionaire developer wants a road built, the federal government supplies the cash to construct it. A billionaire ski-resort owner covets a choice piece of public land. No problem. The federal government arranges for him to have it. Some millionaire businessmen stand to profit nicely if the local highway network is vastly improved. Of course. The federal government provides the money. How can you get yours, you ask? Easy. Just help your hometown land the Olympics. Then, when no one’s looking, persuade the federal government to pay for a good chunk of the Games, including virtually any project to which the magic word Olympics can be attached. For the past few years, while attention was focused on the Great Olympic Bribery Scandal-in which Salt Lake City boosters dispensed as much as $7 million in gifts, travel, scholarships, medical care, jobs and other goodies to IOC members (and their relatives and companions) to ensure that Utah’s capital city would be chosen to host the 2002 Winter Games-private and public interests have siphoned an estimated $1.5 billion out of the U.S. Treasury, all in the name of those same Olympics.