Romney team disputes report he misled on Bain departure date
July 12th, 2012
04:40 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney team disputes report he misled on Bain departure date

(CNN) – Mitt Romney's campaign is shooting down a new Boston Globe report Thursday that claims the former private equity CEO remained at his firm, Bain Capital, for three years longer than he claims.

The newspaper points to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that state he owned 100% of the company until as late as 2002, though Romney says he left in 1999.

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee maintains he ceded control at Bain in February 1999 in preparation to run the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

The timing of his end-date at the firm remains an important focal point in the presidential race, as Romney argues he left the company before it was involved with the shuttering of certain businesses that led to job losses.

The Boston Globe story on Thursday, however, said "state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain 'executive' in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings."

Documents show, the article stated, that Romney created "five new investment partnerships during that time."

CNN confirmed that an SEC filing from 2001 also lists Romney as the "sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital."

And a Democratic source provided CNN with further documentation: a foreign corporation annual report for Bain that was filed with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth's office. The document lists Romney as the president and director of Bain through December 31, 2000, with the company treasurer's signature at the bottom.

CNN Exclusive: See the document obtained by CNN

Asked to comment on the document, Romney's campaign told CNN that it shows nothing more than the fact that Romney’s name was still attached to the private equity firm at the time.

Roberta Karmel, a former SEC commissioner who served during President Jimmy Carter's administration, said the SEC documents raise questions about Romney's role at Bain after the GOP contender says he left the company.

"It's a criminal offense to file a false document with the SEC," Karmel said. "And if that isn't true, then he made a false filing, which is something I don't think he wants to claim."

She continued: "If he listed himself and he was getting paid, he was legally responsible."

"Either you're the owner or you're not the owner," Karmel added. "You can't have it both ways."

But Romney's campaign said the Boston Globe article "is not accurate," insisting the candidate left when he says he left.

"As Bain Capital has said, as Governor Romney has said, and as has been confirmed by independent fact checkers multiple times, Governor Romney left Bain Capital in February of 1999 to run the Olympics and had no input on investments or management of companies after that point," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement.

Steve Pagliuca, Bain managing partner, told CNN on Thursday that Romney has "absolutely no involvement with the management or investment activities" of the firm after his February 1999 exit, but continued to be the sole stockholder.

"Due to the sudden nature of Mr. Romney's departure, he remained the sole stockholder for a time while formal ownership was being documented and transferred to the group of partners who took over management of the firm in 1999. Accordingly, Mr. Romney was reported in various capacities on SEC filings during this period."

Pagliuca is a Democrat who ran for U.S. Senate in 2010 and has hosted Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod at Boston Garden in his capacity as co-owner of the Boston Celtics.

Responding to questions about the SEC filings, a Romney campaign official said the agency's "regulations are complicated and do not square with common sense in this case."

"Although Governor Romney was not involved with Bain Capital after he left to head the Winter Olympics in 1999, he was still listed on some technical filings," the official said. "This is nothing more than a quirk in the law. When Governor Romney took over the Olympics, he was not involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way. He was too busy working to make the Olympic Games among the most successful ever held."

The president's re-election campaign, meanwhile, quickly grabbed the Boston Globe report and ran with it Thursday morning, sending out the story to reporters and arguing it was proof that Romney "hasn't been telling the truth" about his exit from Bain.

"This puts him at the center of responsibility for troubling investments involving outsourcing and bankruptcies," said Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter in a statement.

Obama's campaign has been calling on Romney to release more than the two years' of tax documents he has already made public, suggesting the candidate may be hiding important details about his finances.

In her statement Thursday, Cutter questioned whether the Romney was concealing his tax documents "because there is still more about this period and beyond that he doesn't want people to know."

"It's time for Mitt Romney to come clean so that the American people can make their own judgments about his record and his motivations," she added.

According to a report last week by Fortune, however, the departure of a private equity firm's ownership structure is "extremely complicated" and it's "reasonable to assume that Romney was considered a 'key man'," at the company, even after he left.

"Each fund's limited partners could have voted to end the fund's investment period - or take over fund management themselves - if a super-majority felt it prudent," the Fortune report stated. "But that didn't happen, and Bain saw no reason to expend massive administrative effort to amend existing funds. Instead, it asked Romney to sign documents when necessary, and made the managerial/ownership changes on new funds going forward."

Further, the non-partisan group FactCheck.org stood by its previous analysis, saying there is not enough evidence to show that Romney was still managing Bain, even part-time, during his time at the Olympics.

"We would reassess our judgment should somebody come up with evidence that Romney took part in any specific management decision or had any active role (not just a title) at Bain after he left to head the Olympics," said Brooks Jackson, the director of FactCheck.org.

He added: "But in our considered judgment, nothing in the Globe story directly contradicts Romney's statements - which he has certified as true under pain of federal prosecution - that he 'has not had any active role' with Bain or 'been involved in the operations' of Bain since then."

Martin Baron, editor of the Boston Globe, stood by the article on Thursday and said the newspaper has not received a request for a correction from the Romney campaign.

"We are unaware of anything that needs correcting. The story was based entirely on documents and accurately described their contents," Baron said in a statement.

– CNN's Sarah Baker contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Bain Capital • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. Namryan

    ...hence the no disclosure of his taxes...

    July 12, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. pc

    why can't romney just show us his tax returns,WHAT IS HE HIDING THAT HE CAN NOT LET US SEE?? he is hiding from the american people but he can not fool everyone!
    at least we know who obama is,what he has done an what he has not done. my vote is OBAMA 2012.

    July 12, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. jake

    another lie to cover another lie to cover the lies. looks like mitt's kitchen is getting hotter and hotter all the time. just another example of a person who cannot be trusted. definetly not presidential material mitt...go home mitt.

    July 12, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. Stuck-With-Rmoney

    Santorum was right. Romney cannot pass the test of integrity.

    No thanks to the GOP establishment for wasting our chance of reclaiming the White House.

    July 12, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Phil Thomas

    Romney was nothing more than a figurehead for the Olympics, anyone that works in an executive role knows there's always a three year plan. This guys finger prints are all over this, it's your business experience you tought so embrace it Flipney. Every time he opens his trap he makes me more likely to vote for Obama. He is bought and paid for, granted you can make that statement about any politician but Mitt takes it to another level. Sorry but Americas not or sale and your investors will not get any ROI come election day

    July 12, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. American

    Romney sadly lies again & can't run away from his record. There is proof of Romney's signatures on SCC & other documents well after Feb '99.

    In fact, new evidence shows Romney was invested in a Chinese firm that profited from outsourcing American jobs. Not POTUS material.

    July 12, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. king

    i dont care what romney money does or how they distort facts to the nation. money does every thing, and they have more than enough money to buy who they want to, and make lies into facts. what i am concerned about, how americans are willing to pick a guy that have no, patriotism to the american cause. all he knows all his life is to make money, no matter what destruction it cost. our country had just went through the worst financial crisis in 9 decades. and what did this song singing patriot did. He took his money and hid it from the tax man that when the country needed it the most. he probably said, "let america die", just like he said of the housing market, and our auto industry. this man doesnt care about nothing if its not putting money into his pocket. i guest he will need those same money to spew lies, and convince the gullible to vote for him.

    July 12, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    It is time for Romney to kaleidoscope his own words again. He's starting to look like a Tricky Mitt.

    July 12, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Rono

    "Sure I was paid by the company but I didn't do anything for that money" ha ha

    July 12, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    jake wrote

    another lie to cover another lie to cover the lies..........
    -------------–
    I call that kaleidoscoping. Just keep turning it further and further until it looks the way you want it.

    July 12, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. RealityBites

    15 million people out of work, econmist warning the economy is in recession again and CNN's ace reporters are rehashing a Boston Globe report about 1999. November can't get here soon enough for you guys??

    July 12, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. s

    Oh Willard that is all you do is Lie and try and blame everyone else, just like you did in MASS.

    July 12, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. Kevin

    Before this election is over, Mittens won't be able to show his face anywhere but Wyoming and France.

    Sorry Mitt, but you're busted.

    July 12, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. DownWithTheShip!

    If you're listed as the captain of a boat, and someone on your crew screw's up, it's the captain's fault. These documents show he was the Captain, and ultimately, should have paid attention to his duties there. Doesn't mean he did wrong things, just saying it makes it more suspicious.

    July 12, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. bcm

    Shadow games?? Romney is the one who refuses to disclose his tax returns. If he is lying about his time at Bain, it should be easy enough to prove. You know what they say, just keep lying and lying and lying and it will all catch up to you.

    July 12, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "And the Dems are grasping for straws. Obama the community organizer can't run on his record so he is going to try to distract the American public with shadow games.'

    Yeah! He's not only uppity, he's shifty too!

    Grow up.

    WHERE'S THE TAX RETURNS, MITTENS????

    July 12, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Applepious

    Just because they they say something against YOUR candidate they are grasping straws? You better hope theres no validity to this. If its againts Obama then its just the truth right? Birthers aren't grasping straws but people checking legal factsin documents are grapsing straws?

    July 12, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Rosslaw

    You mean people actually read those SEC filings? This is why Mittens is hell bent to gut the SEC, among other agencies, so as to complete the criminalization of the stock market and create his own reality uncontradicted by those pesky 'ol "filings".

    July 12, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Oldskool

    We already knew he had no qualms about lying and this just confirms it.

    July 12, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. gg

    i,d rather have a community organizer than a job shipping tax evader

    July 12, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. vic , nashville ,tn

    Romney need come clean,
    Romney campaign just defending Bain attacks

    July 12, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. Woman In California

    Release your tax returns Willard and let the American people decide what is or is not true. Your tax returns (if not altered), will confirm what most of us already know and that is you are an unAmerican, pathological liar. A clown with a big bank account who provides laughter at the expense of the American taxpayers and I can't wait until your show is over and you are sent back to wherever you call home.

    July 12, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "Responding to questions about the SEC filings, a Romney campaign official said the agency's "regulations are complicated and do not square with common sense in this case.""

    Wrong answer. Whether or not that claim is true, it changes nothing about the fact that the rules are the rules and sophisticated and ultra-wealthy businessmen understasnd how to follow them and pay top-notch advisors to make sure that they follow them. Mittens either (a) told the truth then and lied recently or (b) he lied then and is admitting his crime.

    July 12, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. once upon a horse

    @ fire Obama...

    I agree with you, Obama is NOT running on his record. Part of his record is that taxes have been LOWER on the average American than for almost 70years and he has NOT raised taxes. Plus the so-called ACA "tax" will only be on those who chose NOT to have their own insurance, not the entire middle class as the right wing wants you to believe. Obama needs to get the truth out there more before the right wing can continue to distort it which they have been doing since he took office. Now Mitt on the other hand.......

    July 12, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. rs

    Lie or flip-flop- you be the judge. At least until Mr. Romney reveals his true financial status, and his status vis-a-vis Bain. he's committed a felony if he lied about when he left Bain on FEC disclosures.

    July 12, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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