Game Remains The Same: FactCheck Slams Boston Globe Flawed Story On Romney’s Bain Tenure
A story in the Boston Globe on Thursday claiming Mitt Romney’s tenure at the venture firm Bain Capital extended well beyond the period when he claimed he had severed ties with the firm is making waves in the political realm. The story is being heralded as a game changing revelation by Romney’s critics. But the story has come under fire as Globe editors admit some of the information was not new and the reporting not original. Furthermore, Romney’s financial ties to the firm do not suggest he had managerial ties after 1999. If Romney did maintain an active role in the firm after that year, he could be charged with a federal crime.
The Globe story reveals that Romney remained a principle with the firm long after he claimed he had left. After 1999, Romney says left the venture firm to head up the troubled 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. The trouble is, he didn’t entirely wash his hands of the firm in 1999 — at least, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
Mother Jones columnist David Corn reported in early July that SEC filings showed Romney was described as a member of the “management committee” of Bain Capital as late as 2001. Talking Points Memo also reported that other SEC documents cite Romney as Bain’s “managing director” in both 2000 and 2001 – Romney cited Bain as his “principle occupation” during this period.
Globe editor Martin Baron has admitted there was a crediting mistake in the originally published story.
Romney’s campaign continues to insist that he had not yet fully transferred the company’s ownership to other partners at Bain after February 11, 1999 but had no oversight responsibilities at the firm. To date, no information which would suggest that Romney had any influence over the investment decisions at Bain after 1999 has been unearthed. However, if that information did come to light, as FactCheck.org noted in a sternly worded post entitled “FactCheck To Obama Camp: Your Compliant is All Wet,” Romney would be in violation of USC 1001 and could face federal charges.
We re-state our conclusion that “some of the claims in the [recent Obama] ads are untrue, and others are thinly supported.” And we suggest that should Obama campaign officials discover any actual evidence that Romney personally participated in any management decisions at Bain after February of 1999, they should produce it to a federal prosecutor.
“We see little new in the Globe piece. So far nobody has shown that Romney was actually managing Bain (even part-time) during his time at the Olympics, or that he was anything but a passive, absentee owner during that time, as both Romney and Bain have long said,” FactCheck’s Brooks Jackson told Politico’s Dylan Byers on Thursday.
Brooks told Byers that “nothing in the Globe story directly contradicts Romney’s statements — which he has certified as true under pain of federal prosecution — that he ‘has not had any active role’ with Bain or ‘been involved in the operations’ of Bain since then.” However, Jackson said that FactCheck would revise their assessment if more information that suggests Romney maintained an active role at Bain after 1999 comes to light.
UPDATE: Bain has issued a formal statement to the controversy surrounding the official date when Romney departed the firm as its day-to-day manager:
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.
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