The Specter of Bain Continues to Haunt Romney’s Record

July 15, 2012 in Politics, Top News

Obama campaigns in Glen Allen, Virginia (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

A rain-soaked President Obama campaigns in Glen Allen, Virginia. Source J. Scott Applewhite/AP.

A rain-soaked President Obama lashed out at “companies that have been called pioneers in outsourcing” at a campaign stop in Glen Allen, Virginia this Saturday. A new ad by the Obama campaign also echoes that sentiment. This comes amid increased scrutiny of Romney’s role at Bain between 1999 and 2002, during the bankruptcies and layoffs of Bain-owned businesses. Mitt Romney signed at least six documents that Bain filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) during that period. He also listed himself as “Executive” of Bain Capital Inc. and Bain Capital LLC in his 2002 disclosure statement to the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission. This is despite Mr. Romney’s claim that he walked away from the private equity firm in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics.

In June, Romney filed personal disclosure forms with the Office of Government Ethics explicitly stating that “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.”

A Romney spokesperson defended their candidate’s record in a statement to the Huffington Post: “There’s no contradiction here. He did not participate in the investment or management decisions on any of these or any other investments during this period, as has been said repeatedly by Bain Capital and as was unanimously determined by the bipartisan Massachusetts ballot commission in 2002.” Does that absolve him of Bain’s blame in outsourcing jobs, raiding pensions and bankrupting companies?

The Romney campaign retorted against the President, “As the failures of his presidency become more evident, Barack Obama has resorted to the tactics of a typical politician: dishonest and totally unsubstantiated attacks meant to distract from his own record by smearing the reputation of his opponent,” said spokeswoman Amanda Hennenberg.

The facts tell a different story.

Obama campaign ad criticizing Romney’s role at Bain Capital. Source: Obama for America.

Romney was listed as Bain’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” on Securities and Exchange Commission filings until 2002, according to research by Mother Jones. November 1999 SEC filings concerning Bain’s deal with Stericycle state that Romney “may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to” 2,116,588 shares of common stock in the Bain entities invested in Stericycle “in his capacity as sole shareholder.”

Bain 1999 SEC Filing Excerpt Signed January 3rd 2000

Bain 1999 SEC Filing Excerpt Signed January 3rd 2000. (Select to enlarge.) Source: SEC.

“You can’t say statements filed with the SEC are meaningless,” said former SEC commissioner Roberta S. Karmel to the Boston Globe. “This is a fact in an SEC filing… 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. Was he getting paid? He’s the sole stockholder. Are you telling me he owned the company but had no say in its investments?” Marc Wolpowm, a Bain employee, also relayed to the Boston Globe, “I reported directly to Mitt Romney … You can’t be CEO of Bain Capital and say, ‘I really don’t know what my guys were doing.’”

Exibit A5 of Romney's Massachusetts Ethics Filing for 2002

Exhibit A5 of Romney’s Massachusetts Ethics Filing for 2002, listing him as an executive of both Bain Capital Inc. and Bain Capital LLC, receiving a combined salary in excess of $200,000.(Select to enlarge.)

Romney filed a Massachusetts financial disclosure form in 2003 stating that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. He also reported receiving a salary of at least $100,000 as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002. That’s hardly indicative of fiscal and managerial separation from a corporate entity. Such evidence squarely places management control and blame for the lay-offs, bankruptcies, and other corporate abuses committed by Bain on Mitt Romney’s shoulders.

Mitt Romney’s former Republican Primary rivals have been recently re-quoted in the media:

“The Bain model is to go in at a very low price, borrow an immense amount of money, pay Bain an immense amount of money and leave. I’ll let you decide if that’s really good capitalism. I think that’s exploitation.” — Newt Gingrich [New York Times, 1/17/12]

“There is something inherently wrong when getting rich off failure and sticking it to someone else is how you do your business, and I happen to think that’s indefensible” — Rick Perry [National Journal, 1/10/12]

“Governor Romney has claimed to have created 100,000 jobs at Bain and people are wanting to know is there proof of that claim and was it U.S. jobs created for United States citizens.” – Sarah Palin [FOX News, 1/11/12]

Mitt Romney asserts he’s creating a blueprint for the success of America.

The merits of both candidates has yet to be decided by the American electorate. Did Mitt Romney lie to the SEC or to the American People? Perhaps it would be more productive to ask a former employee of one of Bain’s “investments”. What sort of performance practice should we expect to see as President from a purported corporate raider?