I got a call last night from a friend who said she wasn’t quite clear on how the latest news stories concerning Mitt Romney’s stewardship of Bain Capital, an investment firm, pose a big political problem for him.
“I don’t see anything about Bain doing anything illegal,” she said. “So what’s the big deal?”
Good question. And the answer, which has just two basic components, is fairly simple:
1. In response to stories about how Bain deliberately bankrupted some of the companies it acquired and/or sent their jobs overseas, Romney has argued that such activities occurred after he left Bain in 1999.
2. But various legal filings with the federal government and the state of Massachusetts list Romney as “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” of Bain until 2002.
This conflict raises the question of whether Romney has lied to the American people about his involvement with Bain when it was moving jobs overseas. If he wasn’t actively running Bain during the time at issue, why do the government filings indicate otherwise?
If it turns out that Romney was running Bain three years longer than he has claimed, the central selling point of his presidential candidacy — his business experience as a job creator — is greatly diminished if not destroyed. What’s worse is that it casts Romney as a liar.
That’s the situation in a nutshell. There are myriad other angles to the story, but the nub of the matter is whether Mitt Romney was actively running Bain Capital until 2002.