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. Evangenital

    Stiff Mitt broke the law, it is a felony.

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

    In 2008 when he was toadying up to Senator John McCain while seeking to be Senator McCain's pick for Vice President, Romney turned over 23 years of returns to the Senator McCain's vetting committee. Based on this they decided to pick Sarah Palin. Now he is only willing to release one years worth. I think we have a pretty good idea that if Romney released all 23 years to the public he would be rejected again. Whatever is in there must really be bad. Why release in 2008 but hide now? Let's search the globe for answers: Switzerland, the Bahamas, the Cayman Island and points beyond...

    July 12, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    Interesting how at the slightest opportunity to find just one thing wrong with Mitt Romney the Democrats fall all over themselves trying to grow it. Like this. What a joke. Don't you even wish Obama had one day of the valuable experience Mitt Romney had at Bain? I do. America would be in much better shape than it is now, that's for sure!

    July 12, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. Brainiac

    No integrity, no ideas, no vision. The GOP needs new blood.

    July 12, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. John Taylor

    In Mormonism, they call this Lying for the Lord.

    July 12, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. John

    One more piece of proof, as if anyone still needed it, that you can't believe ANYTHING that comes out of Romney's mouth.

    July 12, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Mike

    There's proof in the Mittens

    July 12, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. GBfromOhio

    The guy is not an ax murderer, he's just a sleazy, Wall Street, Venture Capitalist who closes down companies and outsources jobs. It's all about a short term, maximize profit mentality of the uber rich, and damn the consequences to the little guy. He has no core values, has reversed his opinion on every issue to pander to the far right, wanted the American auto industry to go bankrupt ... he thinks he is owed the presidency because he can buy it. If elected I think he would destroy our economy, basically finishing the job George W. Bush started.

    July 12, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    Rmoney campaign official said: "He was too busy working to make the Olympic Games among the most successful ever held." Yup, on the taxpayer dime, Willard had his hand out for federal funds, govt spending is evil unless there's something explicitly in it for Willard.
    His campaign people are spouting lies contradicting each other today, too. They can't keep all of Willard's lies straight! And the comedy is not even courtesy of Eric Ferhnstrom today. This campaign is toast. He may not survive the convention at this rate.
    Just open up the books, the attempt to hide might be perceived to be worse than what's actually hidden. Maybe. Then again, there just might be ample evidence that shows that Willard, Ann, and Tagg made a mint off of out-sourcing American jobs to China.
    We'll all find out eventually, trust me.

    July 12, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. once upon a horse

    the GOP has long had a mantra of "if you tell a lie long enough and often enough people will believe it's true" case in point

    Death panels...there are NONE
    Obama is a Muslim...he is NOT
    Obama raised your taxes.......he did NOT
    Obama went around the world aplogizing for the US.......he did NOT do that either
    ACA is a government taken over plan.....it is NOT
    Obama was born in Kenya and smuggled into the US.........I won't even dignify that one with an answer.

    and the list goes on and on

    July 12, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Howard

    There is a multitude wrong with Mitt Romney!

    July 12, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Brian G

    If the US was in the private equity business, 4 and the Door, then yes, I wish any President had Romney's clout and background. But that's not the case. And if Romney was such a great business man, why was Massachusetts 42nd in job creation while governor? Can't have it both ways, chief.

    July 12, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Isn't the smoke screen thrown up by Willard interesting? If you are the sole stockholder of a company, you own it and are responsible for it's actions any way you cut it! Do we want such a slippery character as President? I think not! Romney makes "Slippery Dick" Nixon a saint by comparison.

    July 12, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. IndyNC

    Four and The Door

    "Interesting how at the slightest opportunity to find just one thing wrong with Mitt Romney the Democrats fall all over themselves trying to grow it"

    Funny perspective, as I see it (as an independant) Romney has yet to sell himself and is doing a REALLY great job of shooting himself n the foot. I mean, it's hard to argue with SEC paperwork, and it's a crime to file FALSE documentation with the SEC... so was he lying when he collected the paychecks or is he lying now? Either way... *mock suprise* he's lying.

    Frankly I don't want to see the government run like corporate america... because then they'll reduce every benefit they can, liquidate everything that can make a profit and the money will go for their bonuses and parties.

    July 12, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Investment Advisor

    The Democrats keep throwing falsehoods out there trying to get something to stick. And all you libs have got your " panties in a bunch" . More diversions from the real issue at hand, the economy! So bring it on...all you Romney haters can spew as much "crap" as you wish, start foaming at the mouth, let your eyes roll back in your head and continue to rant about how deceptive Mitt Romney is........it doesn't change he fact that your campaign is desperate to bring up anything to stay off the topic of the economy.

    July 12, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. ATL Guy

    This Romney dude, for a millionaire successful business man, is doing a very bad job of how he explains his wealth to the people he wants to represent. Does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling at all. Something just stinks in the way he's trying to hide how he actually did business. The Republicans could've done a better job at picking a more transparent candidate but they got distracted by the bouncing red ball of Romney's business experience. There's nothing wrong with being a business man and being wealthy, but if you're being shady in how you explain your wealth, then I don't think you're the man for the job. if there's smoke, there's a fire and at this point I'm ready to call the fire dept.

    July 12, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. carly

    The true Romney story is beginning to unravel. He can run but can't hide much longer. He is a true representative of the right wing GOP. Lies, distortions and smoke and mirrors but zero facts and no plans for anything. Hope he loses by 20 points in November.

    July 12, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. Alina1

    Romney as dirty as my shoes after the rain. It will take LOTS of LOTS of Lots of billionaires to buy America for him.

    July 12, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Dixie Normous

    Romney is so squeeky clean the left is continuing to grasp at straws to try and make him look bad. I suppose that is politics in general. But it gets so old, whichever side it comes from.

    July 12, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. Centrist

    Whether he dodged something or not he is still the crook that politicians are known to be. He can build a business and a country better than Obama has over four years. Plus, he knows what a budget is...the Democrats haven't made one since 2007.

    July 12, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Dixie Normous

    @Brian G

    If the US was in the private equity business, 4 and the Door, then yes, I wish any President had Romney's clout and background. But that's not the case. And if Romney was such a great business man, why was Massachusetts 42nd in job creation while governor? Can't have it both ways, chief.
    ---------------------------------------------
    "42nd" in job creation because everybody that wanted a job had one. Unemployment was around the 4% mark during his tenure as governor. A small fact the left leaves out when they spout the 47th (or 42nd, whatever) job creation statistic.

    July 12, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. steven harnack

    Romney simply can't win on this one. It's like the old question: "Have you stopped beating your wife", no matter how he answers it he'll be on record as lying, it's just a matter of which is the real lie. Oh what a tangled web we weave........

    July 12, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. Four and The Door

    IndyNC
    ...Frankly I don't want to see the government run like corporate america...
    ________________________________________________________________________________________
    Except Mitt Romney has more government management experience than Obama.

    July 12, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Sirned

    This is easy Mitt... Just release the same tax returns you gave to MCCain when you wanted the VP spot.... Not doing this makes us think you are hiding much needed facts for us to base the most important vote of our lives. And that's who is best to lead this country....

    July 12, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. Mark

    Voting for Romney is a good idea, if you're worth several million at least. Anybody else that does, is shooting themselves in the foot, (that's what ignorant people do.)

    July 12, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8