Romney team disputes report he misled on Bain departure date
July 12th, 2012
04:40 PM ET
11 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 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

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. Al-NY,NY

    unless he specifically said "I am taking a leave absence from Bain to run the Olympics" he's lying

    July 12, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    Simple solution. Reveal the tax returns during all years from 1999-2002.
    Next shoe to drop will be some of the cozy dealings related to things in SLC and Bain during his *ahem* retirement; that'll make his blind trust seem like 20/20 vision. That one just might be sat upon to coincide with squashing any hopeful convention bounce for Willard.
    If the GOP is smart, they'd broker the Tampa debacle. But they won't, so they deserve the thumping coming down the pike in Nov.
    Willard is a seriously flawed candidate, thank goodness they ran Huntsman off.

    July 12, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. DAK2742

    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
    Can't run on his record? You mean the record the GOP constantly lies about? The record the GOP constantly distorts and whines about? You mean the record the right-wing fanatics constantly mis-represent and even after it is proven, they continue to lie about it? That record? If Obama was even half as bad as the Republicans say he is, there wouldn't be any need to lie about the man or his record. So I ask myself this: if the Obama presidency is worth all those lies, it must be bad for the GOP and hence good for the rest of the country and since the Republicans have done NOTHING to help the country since 2008 or since 2010 in the House and have consistantly put Party ahead of Country... Well, let us just say as long as the GOP is full of liars, cheats and theives they will NOT get my vote and shouldn't get a vote from any honest person.

    July 12, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. charlesName

    Romney plays us as stupid, come on romney. If u want the office show the records!!! Or we the people will think u are the snake in the grass I all ways though u are. U don't deserve to run this great country. U lie, u want the rich to keep getting richer while u really don't care about the working clad other then for us to make the rich richer and take our way of life as Americans away. Obama 2012

    July 12, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    I cannot wait for Mitt Romney's October surprise. It ain't too late conservatives to find a new candidate.

    July 12, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Seth A Drekin

    Soo... Romney didn't bankrupt those companies and lay off all those workers.. He just rubber stamped the forms to make it happen.. Yeah, that's better..

    July 12, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)


    15 million people out of work, econmist warning the economy is in recession again and CNN's ace reporters are rehashing a Boston Globe report about 1999. November can't get here soon enough for you guys??

    Reality bites alright. Like the reality that he was still running Bain during this time period. He claims he wasn't. Why would he do that? Could it be because there were numerous shady investments during this point in time? Was he betting against the American worker by investing in Chinese companies that specialized in taking outsourced American jobs, then trying to hide those profits in off-shore companies and accounts?
    That is how Willard stands up to China. By investing in Chinese companies that take good high-paying American jobs so that the profits can be shared by Willard and a few of his already priviledged friends...and tax exempt in foreign accounts. Yup, he was not lying when he said "I know how this economy works" but what he didn't say was th economy with the rules that he exploits means: he's got his, too bad for you. Profits before people.

    July 12, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. edog

    Come On America!!!

    This guy is NOT for the middle class. I can't believe anyone in the middle class would vote for this guy. The uneducated white blue collar worker that gets suckered every election by the GOP. Wake up!!! Mitt lies all the time! He is the biggest flip flopper with no conviction we have ever seen.

    July 12, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Indeed, DAK2742. The reality is that that GOP's "Obama can't run on his record" is really just anothe episode of projection on their part. The fact is, the GOP can't run on Obama's record, which is why they work so hard to mischaracterize it and lie about it in an effort to ensure that people misperceive it.

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

    Rudy NYC

    I cannot wait for Mitt Romney's October surprise. It ain't too late conservatives to find a new candidate.

    Amen Rudy. They'd better go the bullpen, this dude is about to get lit up.

    July 12, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Maxx

    Yet more lies from the patently dishonest man.

    July 12, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. 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.

    July 12, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. Harry From Pa

    Snapz.... Rmoney has been lying all along, wait we already knew that. Wake up America. This is a politician that flipflops and will say whatever he got to say to get you to believe him. Meanwhile he is making money off of everyone, including businesses he help shut down, send over seas, and companies he likes to hide. I don't know about you but this guy is tooo slimy for me to ever want to vote for. Rmoney you are done.

    July 12, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC


    15 million people out of work, econmist warning the economy is in recession again and CNN's ace reporters are rehashing a Boston Globe report about 1999. November can't get here soon enough for you guys??
    Meanwhile on FOX they're still interviewing guests who question the president's citizenship, question is college transcripts, question his patriotism, and some even question is sanity.

    July 12, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. More Lies

    All of you people out there with blinders on need to digest the facts: If Romney is telling the truth now, then he lied on government documents. If he did not falsify government documents, then he lying to everyone now. The GOP impeached a president for the same thing. You screamed that Obama was lying about raising taxes because the SCOTUS determined the ACA mandate to be a tax AFTER he said it was not. Has lying become acceptable as long as it's your liar?

    July 12, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. 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.

    July 12, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Craig from LA

    "SEC filing from 2001 also lists Romney as the "sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital." Most interesting as Willard has said the contray and he refuses to release his tax returns, which would exonerate him. Folks, this is all about integrity. W released his tax returns, Reagan released his, Willard needs to come clean and release his. Obviously full disclosure would reveal an "inconvenient truth" about that he wishes to remain hidden. Republicans, wake up! Your guy was correctly characterized by Guliani, Santorum and Gingrich – he will say anything, and adopt whatever convenient position to get elected. The man has no core and that is why you are going to have another Dole and McCain moment in November. Tea anyone?

    July 12, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. tee27

    Mitt has made it clear he will never Reveal his tax returns from 1999- 2010 never i will bet the house he did not pay any taxes.

    July 12, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. ST

    Romney should not fool everyone around. He can't tout that he has a good experience in creating jobs as CEO at Bain Capital at the same time deny to whatever came as a baggage to that company. Which is which? Whatever comes with Bain Captial, whether it is about achievement or anything else, is part and parcel tied aroud the neck of Romney unless he denies everything altogether.

    July 12, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. DrCole

    This is the same group that tried to claim dirt on Romney from his high school days and claim that he "organized" bullying on a man who is now passed away and cannot give us his version of the truth. The Democrats cannot run on their record, so they have to throw stones from a distance. They can't even do the digging, they have to get their minions to do the digging...otherwise it would look too bad. The Democrats are doing nothing new. They claim to be without fault, yet nit-pick at everything the other party's the Democrat way.

    July 12, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. Al-NY,NY

    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.

    This from someone who likely voted enthusiastically for the Midland Village idiot and his follow-up Rick Perry.....surprised???

    July 12, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. Armando

    Romney just come clean!

    July 12, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. cali girl

    Lets's see. 1.Yanks his computers out of the Governors office that he paid for so no one could have access but him, Why?
    2. Offshore accounts but he can not confirm or deny them, Why? 3. Does not release any tax returns albeit one year, does not know where they are or who has them, Why?. 4. Stayed at Bain longer then he reported on his taxes, Why?
    All these Why's just seem very fishy. What does Robmey have to hide? Why?

    July 12, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. Reaniel

    Economist warning about coming recession? Wasn't that warning back in 2011?
    And yet, we're still growing back jobs, growing GDP.

    July 12, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. Marty, FL

    SEC lists Romney as the "sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital" in 2001. The key word is "sole."

    If Romney denies (lies) about his Bain filings, Mitt would be guilty of falsifying records with the SEC, which is serious offense. Perhaps this why Sen. McCain did not choose Romney for VP after seeing his tax returns, the same ones Romney now refuses to show to the American public.

    What is Romney hiding? Sorry, I don't trust him.

    July 12, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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