President Obama’s reelection campaign accused Mitt Romney of lying Thursday after the Globe reported that the Republican challenger remained in charge of the private equity firm he founded, Bain Capital, three years longer than he has previously stated. The Romney campaign said the story is inaccurate.
“When Mitt Romney ran for governor and now as he’s running for president, he consistently claimed he could not be blamed for bankruptcies and layoffs from Bain investments after February 1999 because he departed for the Olympics. Now, we know that he wasn’t telling the truth,” said Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager.
Documents Bain Capital filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission after February 1999 state that Romney remained the firm’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.”
In his first year as governor of Massachusetts, in 2003, Romney disclosed to the State Ethics Commission that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney’s state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.
The Romney campaign did not dispute the contents of the documents reviewed by the Globe but insisted Romney had nothing to do with Bain Capital’s operations after he became chief executive of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.
“The article is not accurate,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “As Bain Capital has said, as Governor Romney has said, and as has been confirmed by independent fact checkers multiple times, 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.”
Romney’s campaign pointed to fact checks performed by The Washington Post and FactCheck.org, which held that the presumptive GOP nominee was not actively managing Bain Capital’s investments while he ran the Olympics.
But a former SEC commissioner told the Globe that even if Romney did not have his hand in Bain Capital’s day-to-day operations, he was still responsible for them, as the firm’s boss.
“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,” said Roberta S. Karmel, now a professor at Brooklyn Law School. “Was he getting paid? He’s the sole stockholder. Are you telling me he owned the company but had no say in its investments?”
The Romney campaign claimed Karmel is biased, noting that she was appointed by Democratic President Jimmy Carter. Karmel did not donate to Obama in 2008 and has not given to the president’s campaign this year, either.
Since his run for governor in 2002, Romney has used his exit from Bain Capital in February 1999 to deny responsibility for the firm’s dealings after that date.
Mother Jones reported twice last week that Romney had maintained an ongoing leadership role at Bain beyond February 1999. Citing SEC documents, the magazine said Romney had played a role in Bain investments “until at least the end of 1999” and that a 2001 document listed him as a member of the “management committee” of Bain funds. Talking Points Memoalso reported Tuesday on SEC filings that put Romney at the head of Bain Capital after February 1999.
The Globe found five Bain Capital partnerships listed under Romney’s management in SEC documents that were formed after that date, according to records in Delaware, where the funds were incorporated.