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Romney Campaign Says Ryan Had Nothing to Do With Trades

Rep. Ryan Paul from Wisconsin
Source:gpoaccess.gov
Rep. Ryan Paul from Wisconsin

Well, it turns out that Paul Ryan may not have been such a terrible trader after all. The Mitt Romney presidential campaign says he wasn't making the trading decisions at all.

From Talking Points Memo:

The Romney campaign said Ryan had nothing to do with the trades in the first place. They were part of a Russell 1000 index fund that automatically traded stocks as part of a pre-set formula. Ryan’s disclosure forms include several similar trade patterns at various points throughout the year.

In a statement provided to TPM through the Romney campaign, Larry Gaffney, the independent accountant for the partnership who handled the trades in question, said the stocks were out of Ryan’s control.

“Trades are done automatically based on an algorithm on a regular basis,” said Gaffney, who works as a CPA in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis. “In addition, this index was held at the time within a partnership in which Rep. Ryan had and continues to have no trading authority.”

It's very plausible that Ryan had nothing to do with the trades. In fact, one thing that occured to me when I first read the in-and-out of Goldman and Citi trades then that an unscrupulous broker may have been churning his account.

But the Russell 1000 index fund idea makes no sense at all. In the first place, the Russell 1000 only rebalance once a year, in June. Why all of this month-to-month trading? And why would you be buying Citi one month, selling it the next, then buying it again?

Something may not be complete about this explanation.

(The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

By CNBC.com senior editor John Carney

Follow John on Twitter. (Market and financial news, adventures in New York City, plus whatever is on his mind.) You can email him at john.carney@nbcuni.com.

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