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. Matt

    Calvin,

    spokewetn like a true republican, when you can't win .on the issue, go to rhetoric and lies

    July 12, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Gee

    If I was Romney, my answer to showing more years of tax returns would be: Mr. Obama, when you release to the public all of your college transcripts, passport information, etc., etc., that has been requested for over 3 years that you have essentially sealed to conceal who you really are, I will provide additional tax information...we will see what the American people think then...

    July 12, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. Hitch up those magic undies and gird your loins for class warfare, Mr. .0006%!

    Every denial that the Mormon moron keeps spouting is only admitting he lied on the 2001 SEC filing.

    The October surprise came early this year.

    July 12, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Mitt(I have nothing to offer)McCain has been busted again. The Ron Paulbots are all set to gut him soon.

    July 12, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. nena

    Romney is a lier, tax evader, greedy, arrogant, mean spirited, dangerous, job killer, job outsourcer. Why is this man running for POTUS? This man should be in prison, that's where he belongs. Republicans are so dumb, can't believe how ignorant they can be, wake up Repugs your man will be another Bush, he'll get us involved in another war and more young men and women will lose their lives. This man hates the US, he sends all his money to the Cayman Islands and to Swiss Banks to avoid paying his share of taxes. It's time for Romney to take another long vacation with his family, enjoy the lake front mansion, don't return till after the elections. Romney is NOT fit to be president.

    July 12, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. yogi

    @ gregor1971.
    That is the easy part with his bank accounts. It has nothing to do with being qualified to be president. That takes courage, vision, integrity and very creative thinking, in all these Romney has nothing to show for. His business experience is just a template that was being applied to businesses with only one goal: MONEY, and his claim of job creation is in that business completely irrelevant. Look at his record in Massachusetts. Romney lies with such ease, and his switching positions shows he is a man without a backbone, he is really scary.

    July 12, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. ray

    this man romney lies like there is no time left in the world. lies , lies, and more lies to come. the most intresting thing is that the republicans, especially the white people on the right who are so called family values people are the ones who are bying these lies that romneys spew out of his mouth everyday and gets away with it from the media. what a sad day in america,

    July 12, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. dave

    Obama may not be the best president, but there is no way I'll be voting for Romney. He's a draft-dodging, tax evading fraudster. He puts his money in off-shore accounts so he wont have to pay his fair share of taxes, he invests in companies that have outsourced millions of jobs to communist China, he created Obamacare and he's the definition of Flip-Flopper. This man is worse then a two-bit used car salesman. The Republicans need to clean up their act before I ever vote for their party again.

    July 12, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    gregor1971

    You guys do know that Mitt saved the Olympics without taking a salary

    You do know that I saved the Olympics, right? Maybe you did, too, depending on how old you are. I was already a taxpayer then, so I saved the Olympics. Mitt was all about the federal money. He didn't need a salary (allegedly, let's ee the returns) becasue he was already reaping the benefits of outsourcing American jobs and sheltering those profits in Bermuda shell companies. Next talking point?

    July 12, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. petena

    Romney's new slogan: "Believe in America – Invest Overseas". What an example he is. Imagine if every American were to put their money in an overseas banks, if all jobs were outsourced, did more offshoring. This is what he calls PATRIOTISM. WAKE UP AMERICA. REMEMBER, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. We will be doomed if this idiot gets in office.

    July 12, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. DAK2742

    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).
    ----------------–
    Dixie, I feel almost the same way but I think our current leader is better than Mitt if for no otehr reason we KNOW what he will do based on the past 3.5 years where with Mitt, we have no clue.

    July 12, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. JerseyGirl

    I say shortly before the elections Willard R-money will be found out. And he is supposed to be so religious? And a bishop in his own Mormon religion? I don't think lying & cheating are even remotely condoned in any religion. Now let's all go have some tea, and then popcorn when the debates begin...

    July 12, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Peter Collins

    ...Let's vote for Mitt !! Obama had 4 years to do SOMETHING, he had the house and senate, and did nothing, we're still screwed financially and the guys has run out of ideas. Has he said anything new as to what he's going to do to fix the problems we have? Taxing the rich only would get us about 240 billions of dollars over 10 years, really? is that it? Obama is a joke!

    July 12, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. MaryM

    Dont think Romney is lying. Google, lying for the Lord

    July 12, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. Woman In California

    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.

    He didn't "save" the Olympics – the government did; he didn't take a salary in MA because he could afford not to and he was desperate to get votes; as far as his inheritance goes – he flat out lied (do you have proof of that); and most of all forfeiting a salary as POTUS presents a very big conflict. Maybe he would feel no sense of obligation because he isn't getting paid from the American people and it also comes off as tampering and unethical. I seem to remember a state that recently tried that route and we all know how that turned out. Face it, your hero is dishonest and should not be trusted.

    July 12, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. TomVIO

    Seven lies multiplied by seven, multiplied by seven again.........

    July 12, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. ghostriter

    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.
    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.
    greg1971, how exactly does this equate to an Obama supporter? Why did your post leave out that he was a Bain bigwig?

    Taxed to death, there is nothing that says he is a supported or otherwise affiliated with Obama. He does have a direct affiliation with Bain, and therefore Romney.

    Nice try, though.

    July 12, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. T-bain-ther

    Tea baggers....Birthers....now Bainthers..... You're all off base, this election will be decided by independant voters, extreem left or right wing will vote their way no matter what and no point trying to change them. Independants don't jump for joy over Romney, but clearly Obama has failed, has not delivered on his promise lower debt and taxes, and has never set forth a clear agenda or taken the leadership roll we expect of our presidents, he's managing from the clubhouse. Based on Romney's willingness to face the NAACP and clearly express his views shows more courage and leadership then I've seem from Obama. This independant isn't voting for Obama, time for someone else to try.

    July 12, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. yogi

    Is lying a virtue in the Mormon church?

    July 12, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. Woman In California

    @ Taxed to Death in Chicago

    As long as you don't run for president who cares what you do with your money?

    July 12, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. wonfish

    None of this matters. If I had been the sole owner of company that made poison gas for the Nazi gas chambers, and even though I did nothing to run the business, I was still responsbile for 6 million deaths. For Romney to say he had nothing to do with the layoffs because he was only the owner of Bain is garbage.

    July 12, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. wonfish

    Also, how can I get one of those jobs that pay 100k for me to do nothing but fulfill and SEC regulation.

    July 12, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "Is lying a virtue in the Mormon church?"

    No, but it's a commandment in the the church of conservatism.

    July 12, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  24. G Smith

    The idea of not having a complete financial vetting of a serious candidate for POTUS is unconscionable.!!!

    Romney is not even providing the basic information that meets the minimum precedent set by HIS father and ALL other Presidential candidates since then.

    I would go so far as to say that anyone that votes for Romney without him making such a financial disclosure could be considered irresponsible.

    July 12, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. Name: Okari Phineas

    Romney seems to be perpetual liar served by his voracious desire to unsit a man who has made America and the world a better place than he found it.

    July 12, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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