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Romney's Exit from Bain: Lying Then or Lying Now?

Damning report shows Romney 'man in charge' 3 years beyond what candidate has claimed

Common Dreams staff

Nine SEC filings submitted by four different business entities after February 1999 describe Romney as Bain boss. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff file 1993)

Newly obtained SEC filing records from Bain Capital show that Mitt Romney was "the man in charge" of his investment firm up and through 2002, a full three years after the Republican presidential candidate says he left the company. This, according to a  Boston Globe report which builds on a story Mother Jones first broke earlier this month.

Romney and his campaign have consistently stated (and asserted in disclosure forms when first ran for president in 2007) that he left Bain in 1999, but SEC filing documents obtained by the Globe show that he remained the firm’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” beyond that time. In 2001 and 2002, Romney was paid an 'executive' salary of at least $100,000 -- beyond what he received from investments -- and his name appears on several official documents during that time.

Some observers contend that if Romney's disclosure forms with either the FEC or the SEC are false, he could potentially be guilty of committing 'a felony.'  At the very least, many meet with incredulity Romney's claim, given the SEC documents, that he played no role whatsoever during this period.

“You can’t say statements filed with the SEC are meaningless. This is a fact in an SEC filing,” Roberta S. Karmel, a former SEC commissioner, told The Globe.

"Are you telling me he owned the company but had no say in its investments?” --former SEC commissioner Roberta Karmel

“It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to say he was technically in charge on paper but he had nothing to do with Bain’s operations,” Karmel continued. “Was he getting paid? He’s the sole stockholder. Are you telling me he owned the company but had no say in its investments?”

The Obama campaign argue that as sole owner of the Bain Capital, Romney would have to take responsibility for the company's decision-making and investment strategy during that period and any and all negative political baggage that might come along with it.

“When Mitt Romney ran for governor and now as he’s running for president, he consistently claimed he could not be blamed for bankruptcies and layoffs from Bain investments after February 1999 because he departed for the Olympics,” Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said in a statement. “Now, we know that he wasn’t telling the truth.”

Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod weighed in on Twitter, saying:


...Axelrod isn't even right about how bad this is. It's not an "either-or."

1. Romney told the SEC that he remained the firm’s "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" up until 2002.

2. But Romney said in a more recent financial disclosure form that he left Bain in 1999 - so the two federal forms contradict each other, at least one is a lie:

Mitt Romney Public Financial Disclosure Report, Aug. 11, 2011: Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way.

In other words, Romney lied to the federal government either way. Either to the SEC, or in his more recent financial dislocure forms.  And either one appears to be a felony.

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