Top Gingrich backer: Medicare fraud questions 'fair game' for Romney
January 27th, 2012
09:51 AM ET
2 years ago

Top Gingrich backer: Medicare fraud questions 'fair game' for Romney

Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) - A super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich is hitting the Florida airwaves Friday with a television ad that essentially accuses Mitt Romney of committing Medicare fraud.

And now one of Gingrich's leading backers in Florida, former Attorney General Bill McCollum, is also raising questions about a Massachusetts medical testing company called Damon Corp. that pleaded guilty in 1996 to fraudulently billing Medicare and paid a $119 million fine.

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Romney sat on the board of directors of Damon Corp. after his private equity firm Bain Capital took control of the company in 1989. The fraudulent billing occurred while Romney was on the board, and he personally profited when Bain sold off the firm in 1993.

Romney was never implicated in any wrongdoing, but McCollum, a co-chair of Gingrich's Florida campaign, told CNN that the episode raises questions that are "fair game" in a political campaign.

"I think it raises a serious question about his corporate judgment," McCollum said. "It raises serious questions about his fiduciary responsibility as a board member not to ask the questions that you would ask. Maybe he didn't spend the time because of the nature of the investment banking business he was in. He may have just been on the board because they wanted him on the board."

McCollum said he does not believe that Romney was personally guilty of fraud while sitting on the Damon board.

"But did he perform the function he should have performed?" McCollum continued. "Or was he negligent in that function? Did he really ask the tough questions and get himself immersed in the business he was a board member on, and do the job of unearthing this before the federal government did? Clearly they said he didn't. That's the issue there, not his behavior."

McCollum knows something about Medicare fraud as a campaign issue.

He sought the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2010 against former health care executive Rick Scott, who once ran a company that paid the largest Medicare fraud fine in American history.

Scott narrowly defeated McCollum in the primary after running an avalanche of television ads and went on to with the governorship.

The labor union AFSCME is also running an ad in Florida accusing Romney of "corporate greed" for profiting off the Damon deal.

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Filed under: 2012 • Medicare • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    The labor union AFSCME is also running an ad in Florida accusing Romney of "corporate greed" for profiting off the Damon deal.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Corporate greed? For making a profit? C'mon, really? This is twisted. If anything a corporation would be negligent for not making a profit. Let me put it another way. How does the AFSCME think the business community supports government? I hate to be the one to tell them, but it begins with businesses making a profit. The profit is the only thing taxed. It is a given that businesses make profits. That is why businesses are...in... business.

    January 27, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. Ted van Tol

    Mud throwing every day in this campaign.
    The democrate debate's between Clinton and Obama where tuff but always decent.
    That is exactly the difference between these two party's and everyone can see that.

    Obama 2012.

    January 27, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    That was a good ad , I don’t think Romney campaign can survive till November

    January 27, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  4. unsub

    after last night, looks like Noot is finished!

    January 27, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. a little sad

    I don't think it will matter to the people of FL. Thye elected a governor who was the CEO while his company committed over 1.5 billion in Medicare fraud.

    And that's only what they could prove.

    Teapublicans like crooks, if they are their own crooks.

    January 27, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. gimmesometruth

    Romney isn't responsible for this. It was in a blind trust. He didn't know it was his add. Wait, one can't criticize this because he was acting as a businessman....wait a moment, isn't this helping to elect Obama? Good point, Romney. Romney's nomination would be an anticlimax. The suspense will be how much the Republicans lose. But the vested money interests are more interested in presiding over the decline of America, slowing the decline of America, but are afraid to unleash the America that Gingrich speaks for.

    Too bad....

    January 27, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    Interesting, to say the least. What other skeletons like this are in Romney's closet, I wonder, or does the GOP establishment turn a blind eye when one of their own commits fraud? Of course, Rick Scott committed fraud and he had Tea Party backing, so it would seem that when people/corporations bilk taxpayers, its OK when the ones involved have an "R" next to their name.

    January 27, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I have some downtime here at work so let me ask Mr. Romney how he plans to "ammend" something that was never included in his tax returns?
    How do you "ammend" 23 omissions?
    BTW, we do not envy you your wealth. I personally say more power to you, you played the game to your advantage. I just don't trust you as far as I can throw you, you are a cold fish, wishy-washy, and a wealthy thug, but a thug nonetheless as you like tohave others do your dirty work for you. I guess that makes you a punk to boot as well.
    Obama 2012.

    January 27, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. Biggge

    This was a great debate.. U have dumb and dumber.. Gingrich and Romney clowning each othe over Feddie Mac and both made money from the housing crisis though Feddie and fannie...Ron Paul would have us back with the flinstones, no vision.. I forget the other guys name but all his statements were not Facts...Confirmed on fact check site.... Romney Healthcare is the same as Obama's and he said it works great in MA... I loved the debate, I did not know the canidates has so much love for Latin America, it will last until the votes are counted in FL.. When asked about Spanish canidates for a cabinet job Ron Paul was the only guy who did not even have a name to say..I like him because he is funny, no furture vision but funny, horse and buggy old school vision..

    January 27, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. jamarsu

    HAHAHA I can't wait until Obama debates Romney. HAHAHAHA

    January 27, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. bilk7

    Stories like this will continue to pop up and if Romney ends up the nominee, you know the DNC are going use it. Making a profit by putting people out of work just doesn't win over too many people.

    January 27, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. JOHN

    Did you expect anything different Mitt. He is an elite and a English lord. I bet Mitt father was descended of the Spanish ruling family

    January 27, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. John

    the reason Romney is pulling ahead of Gingrich in Florida is because Romney looks like
    one the many rich real estate agents in Florida. He has that rich Florida look.
    Maybe he'll sell property.

    January 27, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. geggyg

    As long as the money rolls in to pay their bonuses its silly expect Romney , Murdoch , company Board members and most CEOs to ask questioms and know whats going on in their companies . If they say they they dont know whats going on its easier for them to blame lower level works for the crimes and sack those workers , Then the markets say what strong leaders they and applaud as they are given another bonus. Responsibity is only for lower and middle income workers , NOT for executies who are sooooo busy creating jobs elsewhere.

    January 27, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. Data Driven

    This Damon Corp deal is just one of many instances wherein Romney personally profited to a shocking degree off the failure of a company Bain took over. What a grotesque record, and what a wretched candidate for a major American political party.

    January 27, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. RealPolitics

    The problem with Romeny is that he has no accountablity for the actions his boards, his investors, his employees do. It's like last nights debate he did accept responsiblity for the ad that he ran against Newt stating that Newt said spanish was language fo the ghetto and the Wolf reveals the ad was approved by Romney. When will the people of America quit giving credit to the two front nominees that have so much trash and dirt on them that they will blend with Obama so much that Obama will get relected. Don't vote for Romney and Don't vote Newt. Vote Santorum!

    January 27, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Hongli

    It has been quite a long time that Mitt Romney has been trying to convince the American people that he is real and truthful and today he's still not accepted . Why ? -– Mitt Romney has never been "FORTHCOMING" . He's always giving everyone a "six" for a "nine". Go Figure !!!

    January 27, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. sensible

    Rick Scott.... now there's a winner!!

    January 27, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  19. justj joey

    ,,,let's see, you did say FORMER Attorney General, didn't you? ..... another of those nightcrawlers who only have enough ambition to get involved with the Court.okayed (...in their stupidity, I might add) stealth money in our election campaigning fo do damned well whatever they please. Can we cut the nonsense, and start reporting on issues.....I think we have a couple, don't we????

    January 27, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Tina Wright

    I'm not sure what the big deal is...if Floridians willing elected a governor who ran an organization fined for committing the biggest medicare fraud in history and, he, himself, plead the 5th more than 75 times in relation to that fraud, then why should this have any negative impact for Mittens? This should simply solidify his conservative and Tea Party values, right!?

    January 27, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Totally bogus attack. Directors are NOT responsible for ensuring a company is fraud-free. It is IMPOSSIBLE. Employees and Execs are responsible for implementing the controls that will hopefully prevent it or detect it but even that is not 100% guaranteed. If Directors feel the CEo isn't doing his job in this area, they fire the CEO.

    January 27, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    ROMNEY. Money with an R in front of it.

    January 27, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "I think it raises a serious question about his corporate judgment," McCollum said. "It raises serious questions about his fiduciary responsibility
    ------------------------
    Um-hmm.
    Fiduciary: meaning holding in trust.
    Untrustworthy shady Grady in addition to all of his other pertinent, albeit negative, attributes.
    Go Romney!
    Obama 2012.

    January 27, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  24. Noodle Nose Johnson

    In Florida, Medicare fraud wins you the Governorship. This tactic might backfire.

    January 27, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. MTATL67

    After watching last night’s debate. I have accepted and acknowledge the fact that Mr. Gingrich is more of a spoiled child than Presidential. Mr. Gingrich obviously thinks he is the only one that decides what is a fair game.

    January 27, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |