If you really want to scare people this Halloween, go trick-or-treating dressed as an Ohio voting machine.
The "black box" e-vote machines that Ohioans will use on Nov. 6 are owned by Hart Intercivic.
But that disguises the real owner.
Last year, Hart was taken over by an investment fund with the cryptic name of HIG Capital. Peek into HIG, and you'll find that of its 22 American directors, 21 are donors to Mitt Romney's campaign, and a third of them had been money managers at Bain & Company, the hedge fund that gave Mitt his start in corporate plundering.
But the enigma within Ohio's machines goes even deeper than these cozy partisan ties suggest. That's because HIG itself is largely owned by an inscrutable private equity creature called Solomere.
Solomere was formed by Romney's oldest son, Tagg, and financed by Mama Ann Romney and Uncle Scott Romney, with Papa Mitt himself chipping in $10 million and personally pitching Solomere to other rich investors.
Like father, like son — Tagg cloaks the fund's operations through a dark maze of offshore tax shelters. And, now, the son has slipped out of Solomere to be a top campaign manager for his father. This slippery guy gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "playing Tagg."
One wonders if Tagg's campaign duties include "monitoring" Ohio's voting machines.
Can the Romneys even spell conflict-of-interest? The people's trust in the fairness of our democratic elections has already been severely eroded by the unlimited corporate cash flooding into the process.
But what are we to make of a multimillionaire presidential candidate with secret financial and crony control of the machines that can decide the outcome in this key swing state?
I ask you: Of all the things the Romneys could invest in — why voting machines?
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.