Reports raise more questions about when Romney severed ties with Bain Capital

Here and Now

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are locked in a contentious debate over Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital.

Romney says he left Bain in 1999, when he headed to Utah to turn around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. But Obama has tried to paint him as responsible for a number of Bain moved in the years after 1999, including a bankruptcy of a steel mill in Kansas City.

Romney insists he had nothing to do with running the company at that time. But Obama on Friday got a boost to his efforts when the Boston Globe revealed regulatory filings that listed Romney as Bain’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president,” at least as late as 2002. Other campaign disclosure filings in 2003 indicated that in 2002, Romney was the sole owner of Bain.

Romney said that’s all a technicality.

Bain Capital, and Romney’s related wealth, has been a source of much controversy surrounding Romney’s presidential bid. Much of Romney’s wealth, which includes off-shore bank accounts and blind trusts, has gone undisclosed to date, making it hard to truly judge Romney’s assets and what he has or had control of at different times.

Callum Borchers, political correspondent for the Boston Globe, said Romney also testified before a state election committee that he had returned to Massachusetts regularly between 1999 and 2002 for business and board meetings.

“Mitt Romney was definitely not running the day-to-day operations of Bain Capital, while he was at the Olympics,” Borchers said. “We know he had his hands full. It’s pretty well-documented. So no one’s saying he was part of every single Bain operation. And there are going to be plenty of documents that show he wasn’t part of this transaction, or that transaction.

“But remember, the campaign and Bain Capital aren’t simply saying he wasn’t involved in everything. Or that he wasn’t managing the day-to-day operation. What they have said is he had no influence on any Bain Capital entity in any way after Feb. 11, 1999.”

Borchers said that’s a much higher burden, and these latest documents, Borchers said, call that claim into question.

The Romney campaign has blasted the Globe story as inaccurate and even asked for a correction, though not of any of the factual material in the story. They think the story could lead people to falsely believe Romney was running the day-to-day operations of Bain Capital.

Borchers said the Globe has declined to run a correction.

“We feel that we presented their position fairly that he was not running the day-to-day operations at Bain Capital,” Borchers said.

Borchers said Romney has made inconsistent statements about his role at Bain over the years, and this article seeks to bring clarity to those inconsistencies.

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