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. Dixie Normous

    Death panels...there are NONE,,,,,,, LIE, there is in Obama care, they just use a different name
    Obama is a Muslim...he is NOT, it is unverified as he has "waffled" or "flip-flopped" on the subject, so I'll give you that one.
    Obama raised your taxes.......he did NOT,,,,,, LIE, Obama care has over 20 new taxes in it. Plus, though it is not exactly raising taxes, a lot of deductions have "expired."
    Obama went around the world aplogizing for the US.......he did NOT do that either,,,,,,,,LIE, that is exactly what he did, you obviously were not listening to his speeches.
    ACA is a government taken over is NOT,,,,,,LIE, read the bill, who is in charge of the various programs????
    Obama was born in Kenya and smuggled into the US.........I won't even dignify that one with an answer.,,,,,,unverified

    and the list goes on and on

    July 12, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. Tom Legare

    Romney and merry gang of thieves speaking gobbly gook lies again. The biggest liar I have ever seen in my life is Willard "Mittens" Romney. Hands down, BIGGEST LIAR OF THEM ALL!

    July 12, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. WatchDawg

    @Investment must not have been a very good investment advisor if you do not understand SEC filings. Your man Mitts is crooked! The only thing missing is the SEC investigation and Mitt suddenly suspending his campaign...poor Koch...I guess crazy Santorium is your man

    July 12, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. JimfromNY

    "[I]n 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."

    Your considered judgement sucks!

    "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."

    He was not involved in the operation of Bain Capital, he was just the CEO and President. Or, he was not the CEO and President and the SEC filing is false. Either way, Romney's campaign is lying.

    Does it really take three or more years for a bunch of awesomely talented businessmen to unwind a partnership? Would it have been difficult to change the name of the CEO? No, it wouldn't, but there don't seem to be any journalists at CNN who would even think to ask such basic questions.

    All of the above reporting was done by actual journalists at the Boston Globe or Mother Jones or anywhere but CNN...

    The sad thing is that Romney is lying about things that are all kind of irrelevant except for the optics. If he was the CEO of Bain from 1999 to 2002 than he should own that, except he doesn't want to because then he would be responsible for all of the nasty things Bain did during that period (a period during which nobody disputes Romney was receiving millions of dollars in compensation from Bain).

    Romney is that obnoxious rich guy who thinks he's above the rules and that he can just make up whatever story he wants and everyone should believe him because he's got great hair and a whole bunch of money.

    July 12, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Say_Nothing -Do_Nothing_Flip_n_Flopper VULTURE CAPITALIST

    Ask Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe to just show his 1999 through 2002 Tax returns; but ofcourse he wouldn't!....this is the same idiot mitt robme who gave the John McSame campaign more than (11) eleven years of back Tax Returns when he was being vetted for Veepee, but he can't show his back taxes to the American people?!!!

    This is the same idiot mitt robme who sold the MA state govt. office computers & laptops to his buddies & staff and all the hard drives were completely WIPED CLEAN while he was leaving office as Gov; yet you think he is transparent?!!!

    This is the same idiot mitt robme who did not believe in AMERICA but find it convenient to hide his tax-cut riches in TAX-FREE safe havens like SWISS BANK ACCOUNTS, BERMUDA and the CAYMEN ISLAND...and you think he cares about America?!!!

    This is the same idiot mitt robme who dodge the draft to go vacaction in FRANCE while preaching his mormon beliefs while his fellow Americans were fighting & dying in VIETNAM to defend USA and you this idiot is patriotic?

    Remember that, America!!!!!...............VOTE OBAMA 2012

    July 12, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. steven harnack

    If the Boston Globe story is false then I guess that he will be suing them? Any bets on that happening?

    July 12, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. Dan

    Hahaha, Obama's done. After what Bain Capital just said, looks like this is just another attack that has blown up in the Obama Campaign's face again.

    July 12, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. Larry L

    @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.
    "Anciient" doesn't necessarily mean "senile". You're just proving you're listening to way too much Rush, Sean and Glenn. Nobody has been researched more than our President. Think about it... would the Koch brothers or Rupert Murdoch not have the ability to discover any "smoking gun"? What difference does it make anyway – you right-wingers believe things proven completey in error. Have you heard of the "birthers"? You guys make up the story then believe your own lies!

    July 12, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. Expat American

    Romney better keep duckin’ and weavin’. The Bain hens are coming home to roost and they look plump and tired.

    July 12, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. manyote

    I could never vote for a draft & tax dodger. And an American jobs exporter to boot. America, wake up!

    July 12, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    You can bet this is not the end of it. More to come.

    July 12, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  12. 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.

    July 12, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. PhilG

    Mitt Off Shore MillionsTax Dodger Romney.

    Since he does'nt pay taxes on his millions can I not pay taxes on my hundreds?

    July 12, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. gg

    slim shady wants to be president-sorry bishop romney

    July 12, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  15. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Say_Nothing -Do_Nothing_Flip_n_Flopper VULTURE CAPITALIST

    This is the same idiot Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe who pillage and vulture raid American companies and ship American jobs overseas!!!....and he is now on a trip to go fund raise in the London Olympics while American olympic athletes will be wearing "MADE IN CHINA" apparel sewn for cheap by chinese cheap laborers and it's being bought and sold to AMERICAN TAX PAYERS at skyrocking prices!!....yet this idiot mitt robme is promising more tax cuts on top of the GW BUSH TAX CUTS to the "job creators" to ship more American jobs to CHINA & INDIA!!!....


    July 12, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. wycliffe

    Romney probably lied to SEC and his probably lying to american people on his TAXES. we want to know if he has been paying his taxes on offshore accounts.

    July 12, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. John

    He claims that because the worst things were done after 1999 and he thought he could fool everyone.

    July 12, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. Dick Cheney is the smegma of mankind!

    Seems the GOP has hitched their wagon to a lying shooting star soon to be a meteorite?

    Either Mittens, lied to the SEC in 2001, a felony if convicted or lied to the American people in 2012, either way not looking good for him, since IF he is elected, he would have to resign if convicted of the felony.


    July 12, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. RX

    OK, there is little room to argue here given the SEC filing from 2001 lists Romney as the "sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital." There is simply no room for him to lie his way out of this one and it is VERY material to both his policies and integrity. Come on guys didn't even try to get a viable honest candidate this year. As much as you guys hate Obama I would have expected better than Cain, Perry, Romney and the rest of the clowns.

    July 12, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. nmmell08

    Either he lied to the SEC (federal crime) or he lied to the American People and the new ad that just came out. Either way, he is looking really really really bad. Shows lack of character

    July 12, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. Chumlee

    Liar,liar Mittens. Liar, liar

    July 12, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |

    Romney the clown is toast skins with the rest of the republican bafoon party ,nobody is going to vote for a proven lier ,oh yea ,the Gop bafoon party lies ever day ,fig deeper!!!!

    July 12, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. American

    Dixie Normous
    Romney so "squeeky" [sic] clean? You can't be serious.

    Please read the article. Romney is either lying, criminally falsifying records...or both.

    July 12, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. georgewashington

    Release the tax records.

    July 12, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  25. Rico

    The president has admitted to cocaine use, which is a felony.

    July 12, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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