Is Romney A Felon Or Will Obama Have To Apologize?

Thursday afternoon’s HuffPo Front Page:

The latest twist in the quest (say that three times) to understand the limits or lack of limits regarding Romney’s money-making during his private-sector years is a Boston Globe article:

Romney stayed longer at Bain
Firm’s 2002 filings identify him as CEO, though he said he left in 1999

The article makes clear why it is important when Mittens left his life in high finance:

The timing of Romney’s departure from Bain is a key point of contention because he has said his resignation in February 1999 meant he was not responsible for Bain Capital companies that went bankrupt or laid off workers after that date.

We all know the man is rich, many of us know at least some ways he got so rich, but an increasing number of us know there is still more to know:

Contradictions concerning the length of Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital add to the uncertainty and questions about his finances. Bain is the primary source of Romney’s wealth, which is estimated to be more than $25o million. But how his wealth has been invested, especially in a variety of Bain partnerships and other investment vehicles, remains difficult to decipher because of a lack of transparency.

The Obama campaign and other Democrats have raised questions about his unwillingness to release tax returns filed before 2010; his offshore assets, which include investment entities based in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands and a recently closed bank account in Switzerland…

One of those Democrats raising questions is a honcho on the Obama-Biden 2012 payroll. From The Guardian:

In remarks that took the campaign to a new, uglier phase, Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said Romney had either misrepresented his position to government regulators or had lied to the American people.

Now, I don’t know why The Guardian chose to characterize this as “a new, uglier  phase,” since wanting to get to the truth is neither new nor ugly.  But there is something strange stirring, as hints are popping up that there is more to come.

Politico’s reporting included this:

Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter laid out the issue as the Obama team sees it: “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony.”

“Or,” she said, “he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments,” including layoffs and the outsourcing of jobs.

Felony? Ouch. The use of that word ups the ante a bit, no? Presumably, Ms. Cutter did not make that comment lightly. Her head may roll, if it turns out there is substantial evidence against the notion.

Romney’s team has been in a feud with the Obama campaign and various newspapers over the charges that he was active at Bain after he said he wasn’t. The campaign keeps claiming that “independent fact checkers” have “confirmed” Romney “had no input on vestments or management of companies” after 1999. That is not true, of course. As far as I can tell, what those fact checkers have said is that up until now there has been no proof that Romney was actively involved in Bain’s business after 1999.

But one can fairly say at this point that there is a prima facie case against Romney’s version of events, and it is now up to him to offer more information (tax returns, maybe?) to rebut the accusations, if he can rebut them.

And speaking of accusations, another one appeared today courtesy of Mother Jones:

EXCLUSIVE: Romney Invested Millions in Chinese Firm That Profited on US Outsourcing
The GOP candidate decries China poaching US jobs. But at Bain he held a large stake in a Chinese company that did just that.

And that job-poaching of U.S. jobs occurred before Romney claims he left Bain in 1999, so the timing controversy has nothing to do with this latest charge that Romney invested in companies that he knew—knew—thrived on outsourcing American jobs to China.

Stay tuned.

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11 Comments

    • I checked out your link. While the Post found significant problems with the matter it also confirms that all is not right or consistent by any means with the conflicting Romney statements. Then there was this:

      Indeed, if someone wanted to make a criminal case, why quibble with ancient SEC documents? In 2011, Romney, as a presidential candidate, filed a public financial disclosure form, under pain of perjury, that stated:

      “Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way.”

      This flies in the face of the evidence that Romney was active in Bain management and signed papers on some of the business over the years from 1999 to 2002. There is definitely some fire under all that smoke.

      Personally, my take on the matter is that management of companies like Bain is like belonging to the Good Ole Boys’ Club where all the honcho’s cooperate to scratch each other’s backs, and that Romney’s retirement date was a matter of convenience while he weighed all his options when things were changing rapidly. Paperwork, schmaperwork.

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      • Jim,

        I had already included a link to the WaPo material (most of it) in the piece, but since then a good piece at HuffPo has appeared, which consolidates all the strings involved pretty well. A fair reading of the evidence indicates, as you suggest, that there is fire there. At the very least, he tried to have it both ways, particularly when his residency was challenged:

        Yet in a 2002 hearing in a dispute over whether he was a Massachusetts resident eligible to run for governor, he testified that he still attended board meetings for at least one Bain-affiliated company.

        Whoops. Attending board meetings doesn’t seem like retirement to me (which he also claimed). In any case, the issue isn’t over, as the sharks are all in the water now that blood has been drawn.

        Duane

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  1. ansonburlingame

     /  July 13, 2012

    If someone can prove perjury then have at it is my view. But I hope you noted Jim, that the bottom line in the Post column was that all this was old stuff, even stuff the Dems tried in 2004 to keep Romney off the ballot, unsuccessfully. The Post conclusion was that without far more proof, this is political smoke, old political smoke, which of course goes along with Chicago style politics.

    I don’t expect your or anyone else on this blog to ‘trust” Romney. But PROVING the basis for your distrust, particularly if the accusation is implied that he is a felon, HA!

    First one must define, legally what it means to “leave Bain”. Second, any deals he made before that date from which he gained income are out of bounds. Third one must prove that he was instrumentally (whatever that means) involved in future deal making after he “left”. Is a phone call or a recommendation a “deal”?

    Sure Romney profitted from his time at Bain after he left Bain and probably suffered some loss of income as result of losses from such deals as well. That is the way things work in “business”, honest business. But has he MANAGED Bain Capital since 1999. I doubt it.

    First of all he was too busy bailing out the Olympics and then governing MA. As well he already had his money from Bain and legal future income as well. And as far as I know all of that money was placed into a blind trust since…..?

    But thanks for responding. I thought the link above would drive all the commenters herein underground. It is the Post and not some right wing rag that said it is for now no big deal, at all.

    Anson

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    • Frankly, Anson, I find your opinion on Romney’s responsibilities here strange, coming from you. Why? Just consider the situation in a Naval context: the SEC filings make it clear that Romney was the Captain of the firm. How would you feel about a U.S.N. Captain saying the ship screwed up because I was distracted, working on a different problem? Was Romney the Captain or wasn’t he? If not, who was?

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      • ansonburlingame

         /  July 19, 2012

        Com’on Jim,

        A ship can only have ONE CAPTAIN. The full responsibility transfer in a few seconds when one man salutes and says, “I relieve you sir” and the other man says “I stand relieved”.

        It makes no different whose name is on the state room door from that instant on. It the ship sinks beside the pier a minute later eveyone knows who the Captain is at the time of the sinking.

        Of course it is not that formal when leadership transistions in the civilian world, other than when a new Presidend takes “command”.

        But if you want to use a Navy analogy, I will tell you that NO new Captain will spend much time trying to save a sinking ship by blaming it on what the old Captain might have done. Nope he will head below decks and save HIS ship while the old Captain heads off the pier, leaving behind whatever he left behind. The only time the old Captain will be called to account might be in the subsequent Courts Martial to determine legal responsibility of a sinking ship.

        The implication is that Bain BEGAN shipping jobs overseas shortly after the “change of command” at Bain. In other words the NEW guys made such decisions and you are trying to blame it on Romney by saying he was still the Captain!!!

        Anson

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        • Aha. You can’t have it both ways. “I relieve you sir” happened in 2002, not in 1999. That’s a fact, and it’s documented on paper! Think of it as a change of command ceremony.

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          • ansonburlingame

             /  July 20, 2012

            Aha, yourself. My point is that it was the “salute” that “documented” the change of authority, not any piece of paper. And of course the “paper” shows “bad paper work” at best. Had anyone gone into Bain during that time and asked “who is in charge here” do you really think they would have said, go ask someone in Salt Lake City!!!

            Anson

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            • Yes I do, for any major decision. That is, if Romney was actually doing the job he was still being paid to do. Whether he was or not is unknown because he insists on keeping such records secret. And, I might point out for the benefit of others something I know that you know, that there is paperwork associated with a Navy change of command, not merely a salute. There are thorough inspections, reports and complete accountability for all the assets and functions of the command. For Romney to reject all accountability while being legally in charge absolutely violates one thing or the other. Either he was being paid for nothing and lied about that on SEC forms, or he’s lying about ignoring decisions made those 3 years.

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  2. ansonburlingame

     /  July 14, 2012

    Again, connecting the dots, in all this crap about how much Romney managed day to day decision at Bain after February 1999, well just read the headlines of major papers.

    Romney has demanded an apology and said this type of stuff is “below the Office of the Presidency”.

    NO it is not below that office as the office of the presidency is focused on reelection as it is for any president, like Nixon for example. This is just “Chicago Politics” pure and simple and Romney will respond in kind, for sure.

    Barring proof of perjury, against Romney or Holder, so what? We are trying to elect a President to lead the country out of whatever (deplorable) situation you consider the country to be in.

    Forget the politics or policies for just a moment. Which one has a chance of leading the country?

    Well of course you progressives will say the direction is the important thing, not the leadership, right? Well even if you dispute the last part of that statement, go watch 60 Minutes on Sunday and see that Obama says himself that he “failed to communicate” with all Americans. Baloney. He “communicated” with me quite well. I just did not like that which he communicated!!!

    I wrote a blog on that point, leaked by Huffington Post before the Sunday “show”. Obama did NOT fail to commuicate in my view. He failed to communicate the right way for America to “go” to satisfy the “will of the people”. Want evidence of such?

    Well don’t look herein in this blog or the democratic supporters in the media. Just look instead at economic growth, unemployment, the value of your home today and a host of other real things confronting many Americans right now.

    Obama has already said, “If I don’t turn it around, I will be a one term President”. Now he says “I would have turned it around if the Rep had not filibustered my efforts” or the 2010 election had not turned against me!!!

    So the question for all voters in 2012 is WHO can turn “it” around, meaning “America” in general, domestically or internationally?

    Each of us will have a “hope” but none of us will know for sure, except on this blog site and others like it who, like the President, refuse to admit mistakes other than “failure to communicate”.

    Actually, Duane has not even admitted that mistake, a failure to communicate. And when he gets rebutted on such “failure”, he either blocks the comments or ignores them!!!

    Is that the American “way” politically?

    Let me put it this way. Ignoring political comments, or God Forbide censor them is not the “American way”. Sure it is frustrating to keep hearing the “same old crap” from someone, but readers should decide the “crap” not the autor of opinion. THEY can ignore all they like but again, the author of what others view as “crap”, well in my view he should stand up for what he believes. But now that we are not under the control of Globe standard, he can cuss all he likes as well.

    But I learned long ago that just saying “bullshit” does little, except for some union thugs, to convince the undecided. Look what happened in Wisconsin!!!

    Anson

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