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. GOP puts "chri$t" in "chri$tian" since 60% of the GOP believes they should not care for those less fortunate!

    "it doesn't change he fact that your campaign is desperate to bring up anything to stay off the topic of the economy."

    Do you mean like the GOP did in '08 when they had their panties in a bunch and came up with a birth cert "conspiracy" because they could not run on the record of the shrub because he had left the economy in a near depression?

    Oh, you baggers and YOUR version of history, that must be some really good T in those tea bags hanging from your 3 corner hats.

    July 12, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Greg

    Four and the door...

    Except Mitt Romney has more government management experience than Obama.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Really? As a Massachusetts Resident, I can tell you that Mitt was there for 2 years. The other two years he ran around trying to become president....

    This means, Obama has more Government Experience than Romney. Not to mention more foreign policy, military and most of all Presidential Experience.

    July 12, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Luke,AZ

    Where is Eric Fernhstrom, Robme's senior advisor?

    July 12, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Linda

    Romney can not and will not show any past Taxes because then we will see and know what he has been doing over the years and that he has money stashed away in overseas banks so he doesn't have to pay taxes......this man is as crooked and sly as they come, but the Repbulicans would rather have a crook and tax dodger than an honest Black man any day.......how racist and bigotted is that......that's what you get with the GOP that has been infiltrated by the far right religious all white supremists, that are filled with hate, lies, racists, mean spirited rich and elite that think they are better than everyone else.......Romney will go down again just like he has before, because he will keep contradicting himself and his rich billionaire friends will put up the money to try to buy the election so they and Romney can continue to keep their taxes as low as possible and make every loophole for them, and their companies and their will all continue to hide their money in banks overseas......

    July 12, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. gregor1971

    Even the democratic partners (i.e. Obama donors and supporters) are saying that Romney had no role with the comopany since he left in 1999. Basically, these democrats are calling Obama and his campaign liars. This is going to end badly for Obama. Gone is the campign of hope, replaced by the campaign of fear and deception. Obama is showing his true colors, and even left-leaning fact-checkers have had to admit today that Obama and his campaign are wrong again.

    July 12, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    Dig deeper !!!!!

    July 12, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. gregor1971

    Even the democratic partners (i.e. Obama donors and supporters) are saying that Romney had no role with the company since he left in 1999 to save the Olympic Games – something he did for free, not taking any compensation. Basically, these democrats are calling Obama and his campaign liars. This is going to end badly for Obama. Gone is the campaign of hope, replaced by the campaign of fear and deception. Obama is showing his true colors, and even left-leaning fact-checkers have had to admit today that Obama and his campaign are wrong again.

    July 12, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. S.R

    Romney is a Mormon.......think about it right wing Christian brain washers. How can you back him if you are a Christian? The Mormon's added a book to the bible a cardinal sin.

    July 12, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. kp3205s

    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.
    I can imagine Axelrod this morning:
    "Ok guys let's push this through the media and see if it will stick. Get an add running about this. We must continue to hide the fact that the economy is terrible and the debt has been increased more by Obama in 3.5 years than Bush in 8."

    July 12, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. Dixie Normous

    @DAK2742
    Just once I would like to read on these comment sections, why a person is voting FOR Mitt other than AGAINST Obama. I mean real reasons, not "he's a buisnessman" or "he has experience" without saying what that experience actually is. I've got experience in many, many areas but none that would qualify me for a job as President but then, no one does until after their first term so in that case, Obama has more experience than Mitt.... but back to my original point. Tell me why you are voting FOR Romney without listing why you are voting AGAINST Obama if you can.
    ------------------------------------------–
    I am not a big fan of Mitt Romney. For me, this is another election of the "lesser of two evils." Romney's policies will do less damage than Obama's have done and would continue to do. I really wish either side could put forth a candidate I could really get behind. There hasn't been a decent democrat since JFK, or a decent republican since Reagan (though he had his share of problems).

    July 12, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  11. Anonymous010

    This has become a disturbing trend with Romney. He seems to try to create situations in which he can personally profit (in possibly not-so-legal ways, no less) without taking personal responsibility. I shudder to think what someone like that would do with the power of the Presidency.

    July 12, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. gregor1971

    You guys do know that Mitt saved the Olympics without taking a salary, that he governed Massachusetts without taking a salary, right? That he has promised not to take a salary as president, right? You probably don't know that he donated every penny of inheritance from his parents' passing to charity. Just things you should all know.

    July 12, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. Publius Novus

    Let's see the long-form 10-K. And the long-form 1040s for the last 10 years.

    July 12, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  14. slk

    If you do Not beleieve others pull up your own copy of the SEC filings:dated 7-13-2000 &2-20-2001.
    He alone is listed as the CEO Pres & Mag. Dir. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Then you have all the other companies like steri and so on.......................
    Since he is all about$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ reporters are just following the $.
    Oh well.
    Did ya know there could be criminal charges if he lied to the SEC?
    UH oh...............

    July 12, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. williamsunset

    Mitt "Pathological Liar" Romney – Hands down the worst guy running for president ever.

    July 12, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  16. ShawnDH

    Romney is a liar, a fraud and a cheat. And possibly a felon if he falsified SEC filings.

    Way to pick 'em GOP.

    July 12, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. Taxed to Death in Chicago

    Read the article people. An Obama contributor and supporter said the following in the article:

    "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."

    I too have overseas bank accounts that generate more returns than US accounts and I report them on my tax return and all interest or dividends earned. Just because you have foreign bank accounts does not mean your a tax cheat, it may mean you know what to do with your money. If you want to go after tax cheats there are plenty in the current cabinet and in Congress. I do not believe Romney would not have all his "t's" crossed and "i's" dotted.

    July 12, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. calvin

    well is see that most of cnn readers hate romney. they like baby killing two face class war fair leaders

    July 12, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. Oliver

    Calvin, learn to read and write.
    This simple step may make you a democrat someday.

    July 12, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. GOP = Greed Over People

    "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."

    There is NO escaping this "inconvenient fact", by Team Robme, should also stand up in a court of law.

    Silly me, I forgot, this is "smear conspiracy perputrated by the liberal media".

    My bad.

    July 12, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. mishnu

    Sick and tired of the rich and the wannabees, bringing their pandora boxes before their throne of greed....so much has been exposed in the past 3 or more years, that the people on this island of corruption are just down right tired and disgusted.

    July 12, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. RRP

    Romey and the word mislead in the same sentence is as real as "on the first day there was light"....just a fact of life for this perticular crminal... REPUBLICAN LIES, CHEATS, Steal, mislead... there are many to choose from when discussing this republican congress. Demons. Liars...Cheats... hopeless... ole... tired... useless...

    July 12, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. Ronda in Houston,TX

    Oh what a tangle web we weeve, when we practice to deceive.

    July 12, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. American

    kp3205s,
    This story has actually been out for a while, but MSM had ignored it until the Boston Globe ran it.

    Let's now see if MSM will run the new evidence just released showing Romney had another foreign investment in a Chinese firm profiting off outsourcing American jobs. Not right & not presidential material.

    July 12, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. Core republican Values

    Romney is in the final stages of training for his upcoming gold medal performance in the "Freestyle Hypocrisy Relay" at the London Olympics. Unlike the other teams, Romney is running all four legs in the event. And he is still favored.

    July 12, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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