The Boston Globe bombshell about the true length of Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital is a monster with the potential to metastasize.
The story, in a nutshell. Is that Romney may have stayed at Bain three years longer than he has claimed, putting the end of his tenure there at 2002 and not 1999 as he has said. A clip:
Romney has said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role in the company. But public Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed later by Bain Capital state he remained the firm’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.”
Also, a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney’s state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.
The timing of Romney’s departure from Bain is a key point of contention because he has said his resignation in February 1999 meant he was not responsible for Bain Capital companies that went bankrupt or laid off workers after that date. …
…Romney did not finalize a severance agreement with Bain until 2002, a 10-year deal with undisclosed terms that was retroactive to 1999. It expired in 2009.
Bain Capital and the campaign for the presumptive GOP nominee have suggested the SEC filings that show Romney as the man in charge during those additional three years have little meaning, and are the result of legal technicalities. The campaign declined to comment on the record. It pointed to a footnote in Romney’s most recent financial disclosure form, filed June 1 as a presidential candidate.
That is a potential political problem, because it means he would still have been in charge during a period when some embarrassing outsourcing took place, and it only adds to the intrigue over Romney’s refusalmto release his tax returns. (Also, Harry Reid now says Mitt couldn’t get confirmed as Senate dog catcher with issues like is hanging around.
It’s also potentially a legal problem, if it turns out Romney lied in SEC filings regarding his tenure.
But this is not going away. Not only won’t the Obama camp let up (even if Corey Booksr, Ed Rendell and the entire Blue Dog caucus told them to) … The news organizations who actually broke the story before the Globe did are still on it, and so is the rest of the media. It’s summer. What else have the got to do?
And so we get this today from David Corn of Mother Jones:
Last month, Mitt Romney’s campaign got into a dustup with the Washington Post after the newspaper reported that Bain Capital, the private equity firm the GOP presidential candidate founded, invested in several US companies that outsourced jobs to China and India. The campaign indignantly demanded a retraction, claiming that these businesses did not send jobs overseas while Romney was running Bain, and the Post stood by its investigation. Yet there is another aspect to the Romney-as-outsourcer controversy. According to government documents reviewed by Mother Jones, Romney, when he was in charge of Bain, invested heavily in a Chinese manufacturing company that depended on US outsourcing for its profits—and that explicitly stated that such outsourcing was crucial to its success.
…and Corn’s story is all the worse because the China profiteering took place during a time when no one disputes that Romney was still with Bain, not even Mitt Romney.
And the Huffington Post has this:
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney’s repeated claim that he played no part in executive decision-making related to Bain after 1999 is false, according to Romney’s own testimony in June 2002, in which he admitted to sitting on the board of the Lifelike Co., a doll maker that was a Bain investment during the period.
Romney has consistently insisted that he was too busy organizing the 2002 Winter Olympics to take part in Bain business between 1999 and that event. But in the testimony, which was provided to The Huffington Post, Romney noted that he regularly traveled back to Massachusetts. “[T]here were a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meetings, Thanksgiving and so forth,” he said.
Romney’s sworn testimony was given as part of a hearing to determine whether he had sufficient residency status in Massachusetts to run for governor.
And the drips will likely just keep coming, until Romney either releases his tax returns and proves this all to be a fiction, or his campaign figures out a new strategy instead of whining that the Obama campaign is, to quote Bob Dole, “lying about my record.”
The problem for the Romney campaign, when it comes to the Bain issue, is that things are reaching the point where the facts don’t really matter. The bigger problem is that the Bain cloud now hanging over the former Massachusetts governor is growing daily, and the Romney campaign still hasn’t found a compelling way to respondto what’s becoming the driving narrative, fairly or unfairly, of the 2012 campaign.
Mitt Romney’s relationship with Bain has become a flashpoint in the presidential race as Democrats seek to tie him to corporate decisions made after 1999, when he took a leave from the private equity company to administer the Salt Lake City games until their completion in early 2002. The Boston Globe and other outlets reported this week that SEC documents show Romney was listed as a top executive until 2002.
Romney’s spokespeople have denied that he had any management role in the company during the time he was involved with the games, despite maintaining legal and financial connections to Bain. They say the title listed in SEC filings was an in-name-only position Romney maintained while on leave.
The former Massachusetts governor, however, has previously acknowledged that he remained active in the corporate arena while heading the Salt Lake City games. In a June 17, 2002, appearance before the Massachusetts State Law Ballot Commission, Romney said that during his Utah-based Olympics service, there were “were a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meetings, Thanksgiving and so forth.”
How much time Romney spent did or didn’t spend in Massachusetts in the years prior to 2002 became an issue when he ran for governor due to questions about his state residency.
Romney testified about his residency after Democrats challenged his eligibility to run in Massachusetts after having been based out of state. The election panel signed off on his candidacy.
Romney didn’t mention Bain Capital in his testimony as one of the companies with which he continued to work while leading the Olympic committee. Asked whether Romney attended any meetings or participated in any phone calls for Bain — as he did for other firms — a Romney spokeswoman reiterated that the candidate didn’t have an “active role” in the company during that time.