Thursday, July 12, 2012

Was Romney 'less than truthful' about his time at Bain?

Your lit fuse of the week: A Boston Globe story today that says documents filed with Securities and Exchange Commission show that Mitt Romney served at Bain Capital until 2002, three years after he said he left the firm.

The Romney campaign says that Romney did indeed leave to rescue and run the Salt Lake City Olympics, and that he no longer had input or managed at Bain after that point. The Globe, expanding on earlier reporting at Mother Jones and Talking Points Memo, counters: "Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he said he ceded control, even creating five new investment partnerships during that time."

Update: Here's Bain's response, from Politico:

"Mitt Romney left Bain Capital in February 1999 to run the Olympics and has had absolutely no involvement with the management or investment activities of the firm or with any of its portfolio companies since the day of his departure. 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."


On a micro level are some potential legal issues: Politico reports that if Romney worked at Bain after he claimed on federal financial disclosure forms, he could be guilty of a federal felony, according to FactCheck.org. The suggestion of that is more harmful to the Romney camp than the reality that it won't likely won't ever be pursued.

Another issue: If Romney did participate in the company after 1999, he would have played a role in Bain investments that resulted in companies shuttering or laying off workers since then. The White House already is pouncing on that today, saying Romney wasn't "telling the truth" about that timeline.

The Globe story puts Romney in the odd position of defending something he's said he shouldn't have to defend - his time at the private-equity company. The denials coming thus far from the Romney camp today are missing something important: A sense that he's proud of his time at Bain, no matter the timeline. Look for that to be corrected soon.

The bigger concern for Romney is how the news cycle tends to discard specifics of stories like these in favor of the easier, larger narrative. In this case, that narrative could be that, coupled with Romney's reluctance to issue some tax returns, he is secretive - and perhaps less-than-proud - of the money he makes and how he makes it.

That's been a real struggle for the Romney campaign at times through the primaries. Now, another test.

Peter St. Onge






47 comments:

Europeanexpat said...

CO starting new non-controversy

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/mitt-romney-and-his-departure-from-bain/2012/07/12/gJQAASzUfW_blog.html

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Thanks expat. In that WashPost item you cite, Kessler acknowledges the Globe story offers something new since he last visited the issue, and although he remains skeptical, he says he's reconsidering one more examination. Our post, however, is about the political implications of a story that's now hitting the front of several prominent websites.

TexGirl said...

Why isn't the media as concerned about the huge blanks in Obama's background?

Europeanexpat said...

Will the statement from Bain put it to rest?

http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/07/bain-capital-romney-left-in-feb-128772.html

Archiguy said...

Maybe because there aren't any Tex. Compared to Romney or W Bush who can't even account for all the time he was a member of the supposedly regimented National Guard, Obama's life is a proverbial open book. Why, I understand there's even an authenticated birth certificate! You may not have heard.

Speaking of books, there are a couple of good biographies of the President out there. Maybe if you actually read one or both, you'd know a little more about our 44th President. Or you can continue to regurgitate misleading right-wing propaganda. Don't be that gal.

UNCG1989 said...

So last week you reported that Obama was ahead in the polls in NC, yet that is the one and only poll he is ahead of. Yet haven't said anything about Romney being ahead in the past.

Now you are trying to pass off information about Romney, yet you have been silent on falsehoods that Obama has stated about Romney and Bain or how many companies and jobs were saved by Bain.

You've also been silent on the number of people on Food Stamps has increased or how the debt has increased since Obama has been in office or how the Senate has refused to even vote on a budget in 3 years.

It's evident that you have already decided to be a propoganda arm of the Obama campaign instead of being journalists and reporting facts. Why are you scared to give people honest facts and let them make a decision?

The Observer Editorial Board said...

UNCG:

http://obsdailyviews.blogspot.com/2012/06/poll-brings-bad-news-for-obama-in-nc.html

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/02/14/3010277/a-budget-that-ignores-a-harsh.html

URDumb said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Europeanexpat said...

As always Archie comes out with his fantasy-driven facts. Obama and "open book"? LOL. Too bad that book until recently only had covers. But there are some good biographies as of late: one "The amateur" by Ed Klein and "Barack Obama" by David Maraniss where we learn that the most of the content in Obama's own books was made up

NCdirtdigger said...

This is the sort of 'reporting' that would make a yellow journalist ashamed, and here you are repeating it. Do you people ever stop to think why you are losing readers and advertisers? Or are you so politically motivated that it just doesn't matter to you? I would suggest you should be ashamed of yourself, but one would have to have some sort of moral bearings for that.

NCdirtdigger said...

Yellow journalism has found it's home here at your blog. You must be so proud of yourself.

Ghoul said...

Dirtdigger, it is just like when Fannie ran the story on the wife of a GOP official said that she hoped Amendment One would pass because it would protect the white race. That turned out to be a complete falsehood, yet she never apologized for it.

This was the same week the NC Dem party fay sexual harassment emails hit the internet, and when Larry B. posted excerpts from them, the moderator keep deleting them and then she stated that she would not allow "un vetted" news to be posted because they could be sued. Yet Fannie ran unvetted news on her blog. What hypocrites the Observer has on its editorial board.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Ghoul:

Just to clarify on the Amendment One incident - it didn't turn out to be a "complete falsehood." Jodie Brunstetter, the wife of N.C. Sen. Pete Brunstetter, R-Forsyth, denied making the remarks about Amendment One protecting the white race, although she did admit to saying something about "caucasians" in a conversation about it. (Fannie Flono reported that denial.) The person who originally mentioned the "remarks" stood by her account.

BiBr said...

Now lets have a well written article on all the lies Obama has told and continues to tell (i.e. Obamacare is NOT a tax...)

Fire Coach K said...

I wonder how many of the folks shrieking about yellow journalism are big fans of Fox News?

Bain is saying the overlap (from 1999 - 2002) is because due to Romney's sudden departure, it took some time for ownership to be transferred to the group of partners who took over management in 1999. Really? It took three years to complete that paperwork? Maybe, but it sounds dubious to me. That, in turns, means it's possible Romney is a felon. Hope he doesn't lose his right to vote.

In any event, I'm not sure why folks are so up in arms about this story being posted on this relatively obscure blog. It's certainly the big story of the day, and is on every news site and TV news show in America. But the Charlotte Observer's Blogger site is the straw that breaks the camel's back? OK.

URDumb said...

I'm just laughing.

ROMNEYCARE. LOL!

Jim 1311 said...

None of this will matter in just a few more months, because Romney isn't going to be elected.

Christina H said...

This is a very interesting story because of the implications involved. If Romney did, infact, lie about when he officially ended his position at Bain it could have very serious consequences for his campaign. It is starting to sound like he has a lot more to hide than his tax returns at this point.

Skippy said...

I don't, don't care.. How many lies has the First Gay President said about health care, his relationship with domestic terrorists, why did the media ignore the $150,000 bribe offered to Rev Wright so he would keep his mouth shut, why did he live next to Tony Rezco who is now in jail, why did Moooocheelle get a $200,000a year raise at her do nothing job adminstration job at a Chicago based hospitial as soon as Obama was elected to the Senate and why did she orchestrate a illegal patient dumping scheme, why did Obama lie about Obamacare (it's not a tax), why has Obama not prosecuted the Black Panthers and called a white cop stupid..

Fire Coach K said...

You know, when someone says something so childish and offensive as "Mooooochelle," that just tells me all I need to know about them as a person.

And it would certainly make me think twice about supporting any candidate that person supported.

Ghoul said...

OK Pete, maybe you can explain why Larry Bimgardener was banned from posting here? It seems the Observer doesn't follow its own posting rules, and Kathy Sheldon will ban anyone who disagrees with her liberal slant. What's wrong over there, Pete, can't stand dissent?

Karl said...

Peter,

I noticed in your reply about the Washington Post considering looking at the Boston Globe's allegation again, but you (perhaps) conveniently left out the following:

"We have looked at this issue before, back in January, and thought we had settled it.

But now the Boston Globe has raised the issue again. The story seems to hinge on a quote from a former Securities and Exchange Commission member, which would have more credibility if the Globe had disclosed she was a regular contributor to Democrats.

(Interestingly, “The Real Romney,” a book on the former Massachusetts governor, by Boston Globe reporters, states clearly that he left Bain when he went to run the Olympics and details the turmoil that ensued when he suddenly quit, nearly breaking up the partnership)


We’re considering whether to once again take a deeper look at this, though it really feels like Groundhog Day again. There appears to be some confusion about how partnerships are structured and managed, or what SEC documents mean. (Just because you are listed as an owner of shares does not mean you have a managerial role.)

To accept some of the claims, one would have to believe that Romney, with the advice of his lawyers, lied on government documents and committed a criminal offense. Moreover, you would have to assume he willingly gave up his share to a few years of retirement earnings — potentially worth millions of dollars — so he could say his retirement started in 1999.

UPDATE: Fortune obtained the offering documents for a Bain Capital Fund circulating in June 2000, as well as a fund in 2001. None of the documents show that Romney was listed as being among the “key investment professionals.” As Fortune put it, “the contemporaneous Bain documents show that Romney was indeed telling the truth about no longer having operational input at Bain -- which, one should note, is different from no longer having legal or financial ties to the firm.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/mitt-romney-and-his-departure-from-bain/2012/07/12/gJQAASzUfW_blog.html

So from all accounts, Peter, it looks like the Observer is on a political witch hunt to try and find something against Romney. I only wish the Observer or any media had as much focus on vetting Obama back in 2008.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Ghoul:

Larry Bumgarner wasn't banned from posting on this blog. You only need to read the comments, including yours, on this blog to know that we welcome dissent.

Peter

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Karl,

You left out that my reply also said Kessler remains skeptical.

Peter

Fire Coach K said...

OK, so according to the documents obtained by Fortune, Romney wasn't a key investment professional for two particular funds.

But he was still listed as president, CEO and chairman of the board on SEC filings until 2002. It took three years to do the paperwork to transfer ownership?

And state financial disclosure forms filed by Romney showed he earned income as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002.

Maybe this is a big deal, maybe it's not. But it's hardly a witch hunt, and even if it were -- how is it the CO's witch hunt? Again, every newspaper and TV news show in the country is covering this story today. The fact that it isn't good news for your candidate doesn't inherently make it a witch hunt.

Karl said...

Peter,

And you left out the fact that the former SEC member was a regular contributor to Democrats.

You also left out the fact that the Boston Globe who raised this 'issue' had reporters who vetted this issue already and did leave Bain to oversee the Olympics.

You also left out Fortune having obtained offering documents from Bain Capital in 2000 as well as a fund in 2001, that do not show Romney listed as one of the "key investment professionals". As Fortune put it, “the contemporaneous Bain documents show that Romney was indeed telling the truth about no longer having operational input at Bain -- which, one should note, is different from no longer having legal or financial ties to the firm.”

How CONVENIENT to leave that out of your story....No wonder the majority of Americans don't trust journalists anymore.

Fire Coach K said...

So those two particular funds notwithstanding, Romney was listed as president, CEO and chairman of the board from 1999 - 2002 on SEC filings. And he received income as an "executive" in 2001 and 2002.

But yet he wasn't responsible for any decisions made in that period, especially not those that cost Americans their jobs and pensions.

So exactly what did he do that warranted the executive payment?

If he had already left the company, and was only being listed on the SEC filings as a technicality because it takes three years to complete the paperwork to transfer ownership ... why did he get paid as an executive?

Again, maybe nothing is there, but Romney could circumvent all of this by being transparent. He's applying for a pretty big job; he should be open about who he is.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Karl,

I also left out specifics in the reporting of Mother Jones and TPM that points to other SEC documents and reports showing inconsistency in Romney's accounts about Bain. But I supplied links to the Globe story, as well as the Politico story that has reaction to the Globe story from both sides, and the Bain response. That way, readers can get a fuller picture if they desire.

The Globe reporters you mention did not "vet" this specific issue. They wrote a biography that mentions his leaving Bain in 1999 to go to the Salt Lake City Olympics - and the disruption that caused at Bain.

Fire Coach K said...

I wonder if Romney the executive would hire Romney the candidate, if he were being so secretive about his background when interviewing for a job.

Karl said...

Peter,

Oh come on. Posting a link to the Washington Post allows you free reign to present one biased side of the story in hopes that a person will take the time to visit another news site to get both sides? Really?

And btw, the whole "issue" surrounding this story is whether Romney was working at Bain when outsourcing occurred. It was acknowledge by Boston Globe reporters that he had indeed left Bain. I don't see how your defensive comment counters that point. You even acknowledge it.

You also indicate that Kessler remains 'skeptical' so that gives you free reign to present a rather biased editorial?

Leaving out two other publications, Mother Earth and TPM, who say they have SEC evidence but have yet to present it, justifies the validity of the allegations?

Seems highly reminiscent of George Zimmerman's condemnation in the press before all the facts were out. And even then, major news outlets were found to alter evidence in order to paint Zimmerman as a racist. Pathetic.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Karl,

Mother Jones and TPM have presented their evidence. Check it out.

I didn't post a link to the Washington Post. I posted a link to the Globe, Politico and included Bain's response and Romney's in my post - which dealt with the political implications of the story. This is an opinion blog, and I gave my opinion on those political implications, but I included those links to let readers draw their own conclusions on the story as a whole.

Peter

Fire Coach K said...

Karl, if he were actively managing Bain after February 1999 -- the date listed on his federal financial disclosure form -- that would be a felony.

So this goes a little deeper than finger-pointing over jobs that were outsourced.

URDumb said...

ROMNEYCARE. LOL!

URDumb said...

That Mormon couldn't organize a community if his father bought it for him and moved it to Mexico where polygamy is super cool.

Garth Vader said...

Seven wars, sixteen trillion dollars in debt, twenty percent true unemployment, the Constitution in shambles, and all you press jerks report about is some rich guy who left some company 15 years ago?

Give me Ron Paul or Gary Johnson.

Devil Dog 1775 said...

Here is the lead OpEd I would live to see, "Was Obama less than truthful about Hope and Change?"

The peace loving president doubled down on the war, Gitmo is still open, our soldiers are still dying!

The economic genius raised taxes, doubled the deficit, has offered no serious budget, is absolutely anti-business and wants to redistribute the American wealth to China!

"The most transparent Administration in history"? How about no lobbyists on his staff or lobbyist money in his coffers?

Healthcare-You can keep your plan and your doctor. It won't cover illegals. It is not a tax.

YOU LIED!

Jim said...

"Was Romney 'less than truthful' about his time at Bain?"

I dunno.

Among other things I dunno, what passport did Barack Hussein Obama travel on when he went to Pakistan during his college years? Who paid his bills for international travel? How come he has a SSN which would have been issued to a resident of New England at a time when he was a high school student in Hawaii?

On the other hand, I guess it's racist to wonder about these latter things -- let's zero in on Romney's teenage pranks and dog care.

Alexander said...

Peter:

Rather than rely on partisan websites such as TPM and Mother Jones, I suggest you look to Glenn Kessler's update column today in the Washington Post where he confirms that the Obama campaign "is blowing smoke here", was tempted to award this claim Four Pinocchios, but instead awarded it only 3. I guess this makes you an accessory to this disinformation campaign--just like your repeating of the Romney dog story more than once. It does distract the reader from the miserable job our President has done in stewarding our economy. Mission accomplished! Here is the link to the latest Fact Checker story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/do-bain-sec-documents-suggest-mitt-romney-is-a-criminal/2012/07/12/gJQAlyPpgW_blog.html

Alexander said...

And Peter, I cannot leave alone your post-hoc rationalization that it isn't the truth of the false claim that matters, but "the political implications of a story that's now hitting the front of several prominent websites." Meaning, our favorite left-wing bloggers, in concert with their willing accessories in the media are making a big deal about this false claim, so we need to jump on the bandwagon too.

misswhit said...

How about moving on now from political speculation to a concrete problem right here in Charlotte. I'd like to see an O-pinion on the recent murders and shootings in and near uptown. Care to speculate why things seem to be getting worse? Is there a solution to make citizens feel safer?

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Alexander,

Thanks for the update from Kessler today. I'd note that he moves his focus from Romney's time at Bain post-1999 (to which he says there is still some "grey area") to the question of whether Romney committed a felony. That's what the "blowing smoke" refers to. I think we're headed toward a place where Obama will say Romney was still involved in Bain after 1999 (a couple of reports seem to indicate he went to board meetings of Bain entities) while Romney says he didn't lead the company. Both will be right. Which narrative will win?

To answer your second point about my post-hoc rationalization: Read the post. It was about the political implications of the Globe story. You say that story involves a false claim and therefore would like no discussion about it. (The Globe says there is nothing inaccurate in the story, and that the Romney camp has not disputed any of the facts in the story.) But the reality was that the story dominated the news cycle, just as iffy stories on Obama and Bill Ayers did four years ago. I wrote about those political implications, too.

Thanks,

Peter

Alexander said...

I'm sorry Peter, but you are very wrong. You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Kessler's focus is more than just debunking the irresponsible allegation made by Obama's deputy campaign manager that Romney may have committed a felony. Rather, he begins his piece confirming his earlier assessment that: "As we wrote yesterday, we are standing with our assessment that Mitt Romney left the helm of Bain Capital in 1999, when he departed to run the Salt Lake City Olympics." He then proceeds to observe that he "did not see much new in the Globe article" and laid out the substantial evidence why he believes this new Obama attack on Romney is not truthful and deserving of 3 Pinocchios: "Meanwhile, the weight of evidence suggests that Romney did in fact end active management of Bain in 1999. He stated that in a federal disclosure form he signed, under threat of criminal penalties. He said he was a “former employee” in a state disclosure form. A state commission concluded 10 years ago that he did, indeed, leave Bain in 1999. Investors in Bain funds were told he was not part of the management team." I think that is all very clear.

So, to review: with our economy stuck in neutral, the Obama campaign persists in falsely accusing Romney of buying companies at Bain Capital and outsourcing jobs. Fact Checker has reported at length about these "inaccurate and misleading claims of outsourcing made against presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney by the Obama campaign." So, having initially failed to deceive the public, the Boston Globe with the help of some left-wing blog sites decided to double down and "create" some new furor to deceive the public. And you very dutifully chime in, because, after all, "the story dominated the news cycle." This may be your "reality", but it is hardly the real world, which explains why the print news media monopoly on political reporting is coming to an end. Your readers can probably tolerate liberal opinions when they stand on principle and have some factual support, but not when they stand on nothing more than advancing naked partisan interests with no real facts to support them.

So, to be clear, you are fooling no one. I will buy you lunch if you can show me one article you wrote in 2008 that took seriously the "iffy stories" of Obama and Bill Ayers. Just one. You know, something like: "Was Obama less than truthful about his former dealings with the terrorist Bill Ayers."

It is a pretty poor market model when your owner is losing money hand over fist and you consciously choose to treat roughly half your market with contempt and disdain or just ignore them altogether.

Best regards,

Alexander Craighead

Peter St. Onge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter St. Onge said...

Alexander,

I invite our readers to read the Kessler update on the Bain story. The new analysis indeed focuses more on the claim of criminality from the Obama camp. In fact, the headline says: "Do Bain SEC documents suggest Mitt Romney is a criminal?" Is he still skeptical of the premise of the Globe story? Yes. But he says there is grey area about how much Romney participated in Bain post-1999.

I not only wrote about the political implications of Obama and Bill Ayers, but Obama and Tony Rezco and Jeremiah Wright. All of those appeared on my blog, The Ballot, which was published in 2008. I heard from many unhappy Democrats then.

Peter

Alexander said...

Peter,

Thank you for your reply. Please send to me a link or copy of your story analyzing the political implications of Obama and his association with Bill Ayers and then I will treat you to lunch.

I would really like to hear your thinking of why you think this story was worthy of opining upon today? A far more important issue in my mind in terms of a candidate's credibility is President Obama's outright denial in 2009 to George Stephanopolous that the Obamacare mandate was a tax. Then, in 2012, his administration's top lawyer argues before the Supreme Court that it is a tax. Which is it? Or how about the cost of Obamacare. In 2009, President Obama told Congress that his health care plan would spend $900 billion over ten years; quote: "Now, add it all up, and the plan that I'm proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years." We knew then that those numbers were false, since Obama's plan intentionally delayed the costs of subsidizing participation in the healthcare exchanges and increased Medicaid participation until 2014 (I guess you would call that "discard[ing] specifics of stories . . . in favor of the easier, larger narrative"). This week we have learned that the real cost of Obamacare from 2014-2023 is $2.6 trillion. With a nation careening towards insolvency, that is an issue of a candidate's credibility that bears some editorial exploration, don't you think? Or finally, when do you plan to explore the 38 documented falsehoods in Obama's autobiography discovered by David Maraniss in his new biography on the President?

You may find that a more even-handed editorial approach results in an increase in your paper's circulation. Writing about Seamus the dog won't do it.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Alexander,

I opined on this not today, but yesterday, just as it was catching fire in print, online and on television media. That's why I thought it was appropriate to speculate on the political implications.

We've also written about the Obama administration's inconsistency about Obamacare being a penalty vs. a tax. That was earlier this month, shortly after the Supreme Court decision. I can't hyperlink here, so try Googling or going back on our web site. Thanks...

Peter

Scottijames said...

I suppose Romney, being the business man that he is, isn't going to do something as foolish as lie to the SEC, but who knows. Obama on the other hand isn't the staunch champion to truth his devotees like to say he is either. Being the postmodern relativist that he is, truth is whatever narrative that serves his interests at the moment and right now its any narrative that distracts voters from his obviously failed economic policies. Its that simple.