Romney’s Bain problem not as complicated as it might seem

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.



  1. expdoc


    I am a card-carrying Democrat and supporter of President Obama. I will vote for him again in November.

    But the attacks against Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital—by both his Republican brethren and Democrats—and the demonization of the private equity industry are really starting to annoy me. I won’t vote for him for president based on his policies and the policies of the party he represents, but I believe Mitt Romney’s business track record at Bain Capital, and the private equity industry as a whole, is deserving of a full-throated defense.

    First, Bain Capital is a great firm. I have co-invested with them and some of my closest friends are managing directors there. You will not find a smarter, higher-integrity, harder-working group of professionals. They have also been incredibly generous with their success and become philanthropic leaders, both in the Boston community and beyond. If you are going to pick on a private equity firm for bad behavior and hubris (of which there is plenty), they are the last ones to select.

    Second, the work of private equity is a healthy part of our capitalist system. Damning private equity as a maket force is absurd in a free market economy. Should bad, poorly-managed companies be allowed to destroy value? Should fast-growing, innovative businesses receive capital and support to accelerate their growth? And should hard-working pensioners and retirees be allowed to invest their savings in an asset class that outperforms nearly every other one available? Private equity has an important role and should be lauded, not lambasted.

  2. Willard forgot to sign his Bain resignation papers because he was in a hurry to save the Olympics.

  3. expdoc

    And he did in fact save the Olympics. At least the Salt Lake City Olympics.


    Next month will mark the 10th anniversary of the Salt Lake games, which turned a profit and were well-reviewed at the time. The Romney campaign points to that success as a prime example of his vaunted managerial acumen. Romney even wrote a book about it — Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership and the Olympic Games.

    Many who worked closely with Romney in Salt Lake praise his Olympic work. One of them, Mike Leavitt, the former Utah governor who tabbed Romney to lead SLOC, now campaigns for Romney.

    Mark Lewis worked for the International Olympic Committee when Romney hired him to help recruit additional corporations to help fund the games. SLOC’s effort to attract sponsors had come to a virtual standstill, Lewis said, with the bribery scandal and subsequent federal investigation casting a shadow over the organization.

    “Things were in pretty bad shape,” Lewis said. “There was a significant budget deficit. There was also a crisis in confidence.”

    Lewis, who now lives in Montana and is president of Jet Set Sports, which provides hospitality services at the Olympics for corporations, said he traveled with Romney to boardrooms and watched him make the pitch as to why the Salt Lake games were still a good bet.

    “It’s a pretty tough sell to go out to a company and say you should pay money to be associated with us,” Lewis said. He said Romney’s sales job persuaded them to contribute.

    “I came into this not knowing Mitt,” said Lewis, who is a state finance chairman for Romney in Montana. “I can tell you without hesitation he is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever worked with.”

  4. Luke Fredrickson

    Welcome back Pat.

    This is not about an attack on private equity itself (although the ridiculously low taxes these people pay are an abomination), but rather a revelation abouth the honesty and integrity of a presidential nominee.

    Why does Mitt find it so easy to mislead the public, over and over (detailed so entertainingly each week here)? Why does he so stubbornly resist the calls for transparency into his tax schemes? Why does he run away from his most important credential for running the country – his term as governor?

    What he did as governor is the only time he had to answer to the public – the only time his mandate was serving an electorate and not simply making profits. Yet he glosses over the whole experience.

    The guy is plainly untrustworthy.

  5. Neftali

    Romney did in fact leave Bain in 1999. The liberal smear campaign is wrong.


  6. Neftali

    CNN stated last night that the Boston Globe and Obama Campaign was wrong.


  7. Ajay Jain

    “Given the precedent set by past seven Presidents and Presidential candidates of releasing multi-year tax returns why is Romney making an exception?” Because he has a lot to hide, apparently.

    He’s the only one that knows what’s in there, and apparently he’s made the judgement that he’s better off having us suspect the worst, rather than us knowing whats in there, which apparently in his mind is worse than anything we’re likely to imagine.

    Possibilities include:

    (1) He ended up with 120 million in his 401K by the trick of agreeing with Bain to grossly undervalue the market value of his stock, then a few years later have the stock get unvalued to the stratosphere.

    (2) He participated in the tax avoidance amnesty program of a few years back, avoiding major tax penalties or prosecution.

    (3) Any one or more of the other borderline legal but very bad smelling tax dodges– “in-kind” trades, “no-risk” trades, no-risk write-offs, the list is almost endless.

    And BTW he HASNT even released all of his 2010 return, he very conveniently left off the foreign investments and deposits form. Very convenient.

    And his argument that it would be “bothersome” to collect the tax data is a crock too– he supposedly collected 23 years of the stuff to show to McCain in 2008.
    Ajay Jain===================================================================================

    Republicans betrayed their own conscience when they went against established Republican principles like the MANDATE over healthcare which was a Heritage foundation issue popularized by Gingrich.

    Obama did more than his share to UNITE but the Republicans were out to oppose for opposing sake and not following any policy or principles. In the famous words of Minority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell the Republicans were out to defeat the Obama agenda even if it went against established Republican policies set by past precedent.

    Mitch McConnell was out to make sure that President Obama remains a one term President and see where it has brought the Congress and its public esteem.

    Gingrich out of his own admission was out to defeat Obama from the day he was sworn in as President.

    You can not justify the Republicans as the “loyal” opposition as is the case in most mature democracies. They have been out to get President Obama by hook or by crook. A leader can meet the opposition half way but can not fold completely to their whims and fantasies like that of the current Tea Party affiliates.

    Republicans will loose in 2012 just like they did in 2008 but with a smaller margin because of the dark money of Billionaires due to Citizens United verdict of the right wing Supreme Court.


    ” … Mitt Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” the GOP candidate “retroactively” retired from Bain Capital after the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics began. … ”

    No body who has been drawing at LEAST $100,000.00 per year from 1999 to 2002 from Bain Capital “retroactively” retires from Bain Capital AFTER the 2002!!! Then why draw the salary of at LEAST $100,000.00 per year from 1999 to 2002 from Bain Capital if Romney retired from Bain “retroactively” !!!

    ” … Gillespie continued, “He took a leave of absence and, in fact, Candy, he ended up not going back at all and retired retroactively to February of 1999 as a result.” … ”

    However SEC documents show Mitt Romney as sole owner of all shares of Bain Capital. Romney is also shown as CEO, President and Chairman of Board of Bain Capital in 2001 and 2002 then LEGALLY speaking Mitt Romney has been responsible to all that goes on under the banner of Bain Capital. Then to run for Governor of MA Romney sought residency of MA by lieu of his Bain positions. Now either Romney was at the Olympics OR he was at BAIN.

    Only one can be true not BOTH at the same time simultaneously!!! Will the true Willard Mitt Romney stand up and accept ONE thing? Does Romney want to accept untrue SEC filings and be called a Felon or agree that he represented Bain from 1999 to 2002?


    On Friday the 13th (7/13/2012) the very illusive Mitt Romney gave very defensive interviews to all FIVE networks on a single day at once!! Just a few days ago Mitt Romney said to FOX News that explaining means that you are WEAK. So his five interviews “explaining” his time at Bain were signs of his weakness!!

    Presidential Candidate Mr. Mitt Romney maybe feeling the heat on his role in BAIN Capital, his business experience which was supposed to be his sole criteria for creating jobs and his greatest qualification for running for the American Presidency in the current economy in 2012!

    However SEC documents show Mitt Romney as sole owner of all shares of Bain Capital. Romney is shown as CEO, President and Chairman of Board of Bain Capital in 2001 and 2002 then LEGALLY speaking Mitt Romney has been responsible to all that goes on under the banner of Bain Capital.

    Mitt Romney can not just share the good like job creation from 1999 to 2002 and leave the ugly like Bankruptcies and layoffs behind as if he had nothing to do about them from 1999 to 2002.

    If he really wanted to disassociate himself from Bain Capital he could have resigned and sold all his shares in Bain Capital in February 1999 then it would have been a different matter but to share in the glory of Bain’s job creation accept a salary of $100,000 or MORE (where are the Tax Returns?) for three years and only to refuse to take the responsibility of Bankruptcies and layoffs on his WATCH (1999-2002) is trying to have it both ways and then complaining of playing politics having been caught with his hand in the proverbial Cookie Jar that is the very essence of an ACTIVE LEGAL ROLE in Bain Capital till 2002!! Was Romney getting $100,000.00 or more to do NOTHING for BAIN Capital???

    Mitt Romney will have to face the consequences of this leaving Bain “lie” that Mitt Romney has brought on upon himself. If we keep reminding the Romney campaign of the Bain exit lie and Romney’s ill effects on workers robbing them of their hard earned salaries and life long benefits all the way to November then 7/13/2012 (FRIDAY the 13th) will go down as the turning point of the 2012 Presidential election!


    Two-Faced Willard

    “I was not responsible for what happened at Bain Capital” – Mitt Romney
    “I was the Sole shareholder, Sole director, Chief executive officer and President of Bain” – Mitt Romney

    “The Arizona immigration policy is a good model” – Mitt Romney
    “I didn’t really support the Arizona immigration policy” – Mitt Romney

    “The Massachusetts healthcare plan should be a model for the nation” – Mitt Romney
    “Healthcare reform should be left to the states” – Mitt Romney

    “Let Detroit go bankrupt” -Mitt Romney
    “I’ll take a lot of credit for saving the auto industry” -Mitt Romney

    “I believe Roe v Wade has gone too far.” – Mitt Romney
    “Roe v Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.” – Mitt Romney

    “I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose.” – Mitt Romney
    “I never really called myself pro-choice.” – Mitt Romney

    “It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.” – Mitt Romney
    “I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and represent our country there.” – Mitt Romney

    “I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.” – Mitt Romney
    “Ronald Reagan is… my hero.” – Mitt Romney

    “I think the minimum wage ought to keep pace with inflation.” – Mitt Romney
    “There’s no question raising the minimum wage excessively causes a loss of jobs.” – Mitt Romney

    “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.” – Mitt Romney
    “I did not see it with my own eyes.” – Mitt Romney

    “I would like to have campaign spending limits.” – Mitt Romney
    “The American people should be free to advocate for their candidates without burdensome limitations.” – Mitt Romney

    “I supported the assault weapon ban.” – Mitt Romney
    “I don’t support any gun control legislation.” – Mitt Romney

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