Mitt Romney led Bain Capital to invest in a company that disposes of medical waste, including aborted fetuses, according to a report in Mother Jones. The report also indicates that Bain Capital misled reporters earlier this year when they said that Romney had left Bain prior to Bain’s $75 million investment in Stericycle.
Bain had said that Romney left Bain in February of 1999 to head the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, and had not been involved in the decision to invest in Stericycle. But the report by Mother Jones showed that Romney ended up personally controlling about 11 percent of the shares in Stericycle, and that Bain as a whole ended up owning almost 23 percent of shares.
The report also said that Romney personally signed the November 1999 Schedule 13D form filed with the SEC, detailing the acquisition of Stericycle. Also in November of 1999, an SEC document listed Romney as a person holding “voting and dispositive power” over Bain’s shares of Stericycle. Romney was, in fact, the only Bain executive named in that document.
Stericycle was founded in 1989, when it began irradiating medical waste to sterilize it. While the firm has had regulatory problems, including cases where employees were exposed to life-threatening diseases such as tuberculosis, the company has grown to become the largest medical waste-disposal company in the United States.
Stericycle has been a target of disdain for the anti-abortion movement, which has targeted the organization for its role in disposal of medical waste, including aborted fetuses.
While Stericycle had not yet come under fire from the anti-choicers in 1999, there is no question that they were involved in servicing abortion clinics at the time. Romney did not object, though, primarily because in 1999, Romney was pro-choice, a position he would defend when running for governor of Massachusetts in 2002. Like many of Romney’s positions, he switched his abortion position around the same time he decided to first seek the Republican Party nomination for president.
The revelations about the Stericycle investment don’t just highlight Romney’s staggering record of flip-flopping for personal and political gain. They also suggest that Romney may have been more involved with Bain, for a longer amount of time, than either he or Bain have been willing to admit. Part of the Romney campaign’s defense on Bain’s outsourcing record has been that Romney left Bain in February of 1999, very early in the process. These reports indicate that this simply was not the case. While Romney may have been less involved with Bain after he started working on the 2002 Winter Games, the investment in Stericycle shows he was far from retired.
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