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. Suzanne

    It's time for Mitt Rommey to come clean and show some integrity!

    July 12, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. jane

    And the walls came tumbling down!!!

    July 12, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. kakaraka

    People should sue this guy for misleading and filing false SEC report. To avoid this, Romney should release his tax returns. Simple.

    July 12, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Jaded

    Obviously, the word truth is not in Romney's vocabulary.

    July 12, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. Hal

    Team Romney has as much "credibility" as alexithymic Mitt. Team Romney also tried to intimidate THE WASHINGTON POST when it exposed Mitt's BAIN years. In the bio, THE REAL ROMNEY, written by 2 BOSTON GLOBE reporters, who covered Mitt for years, Mitt comes out looking even worse than what the MSM has been reporting. Best "beach read" of 2012.

    July 12, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "1.Yanks his computers out of the Governors office that he paid for so no one could have access but him,'

    Actually, he spent a few hundred thousand dollars in tax payer money wiping the machines, etc., in order to leave no trace. To him, being governor of MA was just a stepping stone to his "turn" as POTUS...nothing more....but he couldn't leave anything behind that would haunt him or would allow scrutiny of his record as a governing executive during his planned runs for POTUS.

    July 12, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. sonny chapman

    Mitt has a serious creditability problem. He's been in dog-eat-dog business & politics fro so long, he doesn't recognize LYING.

    July 12, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Ah...I See

    @Fire Obama
    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.
    -------
    It's a shame these "Dems" are actually independent news organizations reporting on documents filed with the Federal Government. Course, you'll likely say "oh the terrible liberal media is out to get Mitt!" Or...it could be as simple as comments on a documents filed with the Federal Government. If he didn't have anything to hide (like his foreign investments/investors or hiding monies in the Cayman Islands and other various tax-friendly locations) why wouldn't he do what his daddy did and release his OWN set of tax documents for the last decade?

    Shadow games is shouting "im rubber and you're glue" at every turn whilst chopping the legs out from under every american while whistling Dixie and saluting Old Glory. Jeff Dunham couldn't do a better job at shadow games. I'd just like to remind all the silly folks out there where the 50 states sit in the different categories (jobs/education/health/debt, etc.) and which party have been running which state. Not much has changed since the Civil War...Yanks are STILL better at pretty much everything and we'll continue to be until the sheep all over the USA value science and history as much as faith and religion. Not to say all Southerners are dumb sheep or all Northerners are stellar humans, but it'd be nice to give everyone a fair chance with as little misinformation as possible (lookin at you Fox News ENTERTAINMENT [their actual name btw])

    July 12, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Vicki

    Craig from LA: I like your post. This is about integrity. It's about being presidential material. Here we have a guy in Romney who did not have the diplomacy to treat people with a little respect. He goes in front of the NAACP yesterday and after the fact says he knew he would get booed. He then goes on to say that he doesn't tell one crowd of people one thing and then another crowd another thing (which we all know he does). So basically, he was not trying to win their vote, he talked right over them like their were nobody and bascially gave a speech for his supporters. I don't know about you, but a guy that would use a room full of people like that to prove he was consistent with his message is a guy who is a salesman, not a president. He didn't make a speech for them, he used them for his own scheme. Case in point, we did all see him go in front of Hispanics and try to wangle their votes. Did you hear him repeating his line to them about making things so bad for them that they would self-deport? No. Did you hear him tell the Hispanics what he told them in New Hampshire? No. He used that crowd yesterday like they were nothing to him, just an ends to a means to prove he was a consistent speaker. He was trying to prove he wasn't a flip-flopper at the NAACP convention. Not presidential material.

    Obama will chew him up and spit him out in the debates. I think I will have some tea.

    July 12, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Jill

    I disagree with Romney spokesperson input that "he was still listed on some [SEC]filings – this is nothing more than a quirk in the law." SEC filings are kind of quirky in that there is a requirement that they be accurate and reflect all true legal information and if the company filing made mistakes, then they must refile to correct them. You are either an Owner, Officer, or Director, or someone defined as a Section 16 officer with significant input in deciding things for a company, or you are not. If your name is on the filing, then I think you are a significant officer.

    July 12, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. ghostriter

    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."

    Hmmmm.......not filing the simple paperwork to change official ownership of the company? Too complicated? I remember when Geitner said paperwork was complicated. Republicans roasted him for it. I'm guessing they won't hold Romney to the same standard.

    Even funnier is that Romney may have just been getting paid for doing nothing then. Nice.

    Lastly, if this guy can't file the proper paperwork, I have serious questions about his ability to do this job.

    July 12, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Thomas

    What do you expect of a Father who's FIVE sons avoided volunteering for military service for our country !

    July 12, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. edog

    Ancient Texan

    edog- You're describing Barack Obama exactly to a "T". Obama has done more damage to the middle class than ANY president in the history of the Nation.
    ---------------------------

    What are you talking about... Look at Mitts 59? 52? 51? point economic plan! The tax policy alone tells you who Mitt is for. The top 1% (or as the GOP likes to call them the JOB CREATORS) get a huge tax break, while the middle class, just like their income over the last 30 years will be stagnant. What will all these JOB CREATORS DO! Well, Mitt Romney talks about how many jobs he has created... Romney has most of his money overseas in accounts that are not creating any jobs for the American Middle class, but just more wealth for HIMSELF!!!

    July 12, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Mike

    Good ol Mittens.......Just lost another Republican voter; I guess I'm voting for Obama!

    July 12, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. stars

    Hey mitt that move you pulled yesterday at the naacp. you just didn"t use your head again. now all the blacks, lation, jew, gays womens will for sure come out number for president Obama. you went to far that time.

    July 12, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. Mr 1% the "VULTURE CAPITALIST BUSINESSMAN" will outsource all the poor, disabled, unemployed and elderly, to China and sell America to the highest bidder!

    Oops, looks like Mittens has been caught in mid-air on this flip flop!

    July 12, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. IntelligentDesign

    His taxes will show he lived outside of the state, that he was on the bain dole, that he went a few years paying ZERO taxes and that he has money in other tax havens outside of the country. Rob Me is a crook. All independents should go to all of his events and protest until he provide the taxes for all of his bain years. I will not vote for him until he does provide this.

    July 12, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. MDNA = MaDge Not Applicable!

    Caught lying red handed?

    What commandment is that on Planet Kolob?

    July 12, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. GOP = Greed Over People

    Now, about all those "off shore" accounts in the Caymans and Switzerland, looks like we cannot take Mr. 1%'s word as the gospel truth.

    July 12, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. edog

    Ancient Texan

    ROmney has released his tax return as allowed by law, yet Obama has kept his life history concealed by spending millions to seal all of his records. What little we know about him we learned from his books, which are primarily FICTION.
    ----------

    More Right Wing BS. By letter of the law, a President is not required to show his LONG FORM birth certificate, but I am sure you were one of the people saying our President was not born in the US. Mitt! Show us tax returns from 1999 – 2002 those years that are being questioned about when Romney was CEO of Bain.

    July 12, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    Lying then about being at Bain or lying now about when he left. Choose one, Willard. Which lie would you like to go with from here on out?
    Investing in Chinese companies that gobbled up outsourced American jobs is not very presidential, unless you're are running for office in China. Tell us all again how you'll stand up to China. Liar.

    July 12, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. Seriously?

    DrCole: This is the same group that tried to claim dirt on Romney from his high school days.

    Dear Dr. Cole: Shoot the messenger all you want. That doesn't change the FACT, and I realize It's an inconvenient truth, that Romney signed SEC filings in 2002 for Bain and that Romney created "five new investment partnerships" after he has told everyone else that he left Bain in 1999 and that an SEC filing from 2001 also lists Romney as the "sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital."

    It doesn't matter who is reporting it, those are the FACTS. He's either lying now, or he committed a criminal offense then and falsified SEC filings. So which is it? Criminal or Liar?

    I think I will have some more tea.

    July 12, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. Ferret out the BS

    Gee, it must be a Republican genetic trait to lie, scam, and cheat. Seems to me we went down this path before with GW and we're still paying the price.

    July 12, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. L. R. Long

    Hey, DrCole... If you think Republicans don't nit-pick then you have no idea what nit-picking is. Romney and the chairman of the GOP have admitted to a strategy of "bracketting" every Obama campaign event. What do you think they do after each of Obama's campaign speech's? NIT-PICK WHATEVER HE SAID! Get a clue.

    July 12, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Jim, San Antonio

    Mitt has a credibility problem in MANY different areas. GOP nominates him at their own risk.

    July 12, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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