With the impending election this coming fall and the candidates’ moves being scrutinized heavily, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has found himself in a bit of a quandary after news broke that the former governor of Massachusetts worked at investment firm Bain Capital three years longer than he has publicly claimed. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC ) filings show that Romney, who helped create Bain in 1984, actually remained the sole stockholder and president until 2002. Additionally, a financial disclosure statement showed that in 2003, Romney owned 100 percent of the firm and was drawing a six-figure salary not including his investment earnings via the company, according to a Boston Globe report.
Although Romney has promised transparency regarding his finances, he has remained mum on how much he’s earned over the years. Still, the GOP and Romney campaign staff say this latest evasion of openness about finances doesn’t amount to anything and that it was merely a technicality that Romney was still on the rolls as head of Bain:
Mitt Romney retired from Bain Capital in February 1999. He has had no involvement in the management or investment activities of Bain Capital, or with any of its portfolio companies, since that time, read a statement from Bain released on Wednesday.
A former lead person for SEC, though, stresses that Romney’s gaffe in not opening up about his Bain connection can’t be pushed aside.
“You can’t say statements filed with the SEC are meaningless. This is a fact in an SEC filing,” said Roberta S. Karmel, who now teaches at Brooklyn Law School. “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. 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 Obama re-election campaign and other leading Democrats have asked for tax returns filed before 2010 from Romney, but have met resistance from the man who desires to lead a country based on bombastic promises for reform and fairness.
The reality is that if Romney did misrepresent his time at Bain, it would be misleading to the investors and could be used in a lawsuit, according to Karmel.
Romney has also stated on the record that he’s not responsible for the failure and layoff of Bain Capital staff, after his supposed resignation in 1999 – and has even staked his gubernatorial run on this claim; while running for governor, Romney testified before the Ballot Law Commission that he took a “leave of absence” from Bain not a full-on departure.
The Obama camp wisely jumped on Romney’s snafu with the President conducting an interview with CBS News’ Charlie Ross Friday morning. “I think it is entirely appropriate to look at that record and see whether in fact his focus was creating jobs and he successfully did that. And when you look at the record, there are questions there that have to be asked,” said President Obama.
Former President Bill Clinton also spoke with NBC News Friday and weighed in on the latest Romney findings, saying that the revelation of the Bain tenure struck him as “a little odd.”
Romney, floundering after an appearance at the NAACP convention on Wednesday, will have to answer some hard questions about his assets and earnings before his campaign can begin to recover.