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. SamR

    All the Romney camp is trying to say is just because he was the president, CEO, and 100% shareholder doesn't mean he had anything to do with the company. He totally said he was done managing. Don't you believe him?

    July 12, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. John Bosshardt

    If the Securities and Exchange Commission that state he owned 100% of the company until as late as 2002, even athough he may not have been the CEO at that time, Romney still had a vested interest in the Bain Capital.
    Romney probably doesn't know where the money went from that either as he had someone manage it for him.
    Ripley's "Believe it or not" ??????????????? NOT!

    July 12, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. FLIndependent

    @Dixie – "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."
    ________________________________
    You might want to check your "facts"....Massachusetts was 47th in job creation at the end of Mitten's term at a time when the average unemployment in the country was quite low. If he's such a "job creator" then why did 46 states do better than his state? To say everyone had a job is ridiculous.

    July 12, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. AllNightLong

    Looks like Mitt has been caught lying red-handed. When state financial disclosure forms show he made at least $100K as an executive at Bain in 2001 and 2002, the writing is on the wall. See ya Mitt!

    July 12, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. ray

    romney and his family are the world's greatest liars, lies, lies, lies, lies and more lies to come everyday

    July 12, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. CanadaONE

    my DEAR AMERICAN friends you CANNOT make this man a president – he will make you LOOK so BAD

    love from your best friends who always stuck with you – through think and thin

    love
    Canada

    July 12, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. CanadaONE

    yes THINK

    July 12, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Gee wrote:

    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
    -----------------
    I wish he would. You sound like one of Romney's advisors. A remark like that is a guaranteed Obama win. What you fail to realize is that in saying that to Pres. Obama he would also be saying it to the American people. Besides, no one is asking for Mitt Romney's high school transcripts, college papers, etc. Why ask for Pres. Obama's?

    At any rate, Pres. Obama has several years of tax returns on the public record. How many does Mitt Romney have? It was Mitt's dad who started the tradition by releasing 12 years worth of returns. When asked why release so many, his answer was enlightening and will spell Mitt's doom. "Because a single year could be a fluke, dressed up to appear good and legitimate." ...or something to that effect. You get the idea.

    July 12, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. anagram_kid

    Gregor1971, please explain how Gov. Romeny donating his salary is a qualification for POTUS?

    July 12, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. Romney is not My Hero

    @CanadaONE – I definitely WILL NOT be voting for this moron. If he somehow buys this election, I'm moving to Canada.

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 12, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. scott

    Boston Globe is a liberal rag it has as much creditability as the National Enquirer. Lets see FBI,SEC both investigated back in the late 90's. Fact check.org investigated found nothing. Obama is so desperate and pathetic because he knows he is losing,will say or do anything. This country deserves better then Obama.

    July 12, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. Dixie Normous

    @FLIndependent
    @Dixie – "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."
    ________________________________
    You might want to check your "facts"....Massachusetts was 47th in job creation at the end of Mitten's term at a time when the average unemployment in the country was quite low. If he's such a "job creator" then why did 46 states do better than his state? To say everyone had a job is ridiculous.
    -----------------------------------------
    My "facts" are spot on. During Romney's tenure as governor of MA the unemployment rate of MA was in the 4% neighborhood. Typical liberal, lacking reading and comprehension skills.

    July 12, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. charles

    Lucy, you got a whole lotta 'splainin' to do!

    July 12, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8