Romney Lied About Departure from Bain
Mitt Romney stayed at Bain Capital for three years after he previously said he resigned, according to a report in the Boston Globe. The revelation, based on Securities and Exchange Commission filings and Massachusetts financial disclosures, directly contradicts the Romney campaign’s argument that Romney was not involved in Bain’s activities after early 1999.
Romney was listed as “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” in SEC filings after Romney claimed to have stepped down. Romney also stated in a 2003 financial disclosure form that he owned 100 percent of Bain Capital. Romney earned $100,000 in income as an “executive” at Bain in 2001 and 2002, not related to his investment income.
The report could shed light on why Romney has steadfastly refused to release more than one years’ worth of tax returns. It also exposes Romney to potential criminal prosecution based on contradictory filings with the FEC that said Romney was no longer active in the company.
The Romney campaign said that the report was inaccurate. Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said, “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.”
“You canít say statements filed with the SEC are meaningless. This is a fact in an SEC filing,” former SEC Commissioner Roberta Karmel told the Globe. “It doesnít make a whole lot of sense to say he was technically in charge on paper but he had nothing to do with Bainís operations.”
Romney has been under withering pressure from the Obama campaign over his personal finances and his unwillingness to disclose more financial information. Romney has been revealed to have had off-shore bank accounts in Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, and Bermuda, all places seen as tax havens.
Obama campaign deputy manager Stephanie Cutter sharply attacked Romney in a conference call Thursday.
Cutter said that Romney had either lied in SEC filings by “misrepresenting his position” with Bain, or he was “misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people.”
Cutter noted that lying to the SEC is a felony, and added that if Romney was lying to the public, “thatís a real character and trust issue.”
Cutter renewed the Obama campaign’s calls for Romney to release tax returns.
“If the SEC filings arenít accurate, then prove it,” she said.
Romney has used his claimed 1999 departure from Bain as a defense against some of the toughest assaults on his record at the company. Romney was attacked over Bain’s shutdown of the GST steel mill by former Massachusetts State Treasurer †Shannon O’Brien during their 2002 gubernatorial campaign. Romney was attacked again earlier this year by the Obama campaign over the same plant. Both times, Romney defended himself by saying the shutdown came in 2001, after he had left Bain.
This report indicates that Romney was far from a disinterested party by 2001, however. Indeed, the report shows Romney was still listed as the head of the company and sole stockholder in 2001 SEC filings.
Image Credit: Bain Capital