Friday, July 13, 2012

Romney campaign contradicts Romney testimony

Romney is very good at splitting hairs to avoid literally lying, or to hold two almost-contradictory positions at once (Romneycare good! Obamacare bad!  Bailouts bad! Rescue of financial system in crisis good! Managed bankruptcy good! Obama's managed bankruptcies of GM/Chrysler bad!). 

Therefore, I am a little surprised to note that the Romney campaign has slipped up in its characterizations of Romney's leave of absence from Bain when he was running the Olympics in 1999-2002. Yesterday, the campaign contradicted testimony that Romney provided to the Massachusetts Ballot Commission in June 2002 in a way that they had previously avoided.

As I noted yesterday, the Romney campaign's 2011 statement that "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" does not contradict Romney's assertion, while striving to prove establish his Massachusetts for his gubernatorial run in 2002, that he returned to Massachusetts periodically during his Olympic tenure to attend board meetings for past and present Bain portfolio companies. Those companies are not "Bain Capital entities." 

A Bain statement issued yesterday, however, does contradict those assertions: Romney, it says,“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” in 1999" (my emphasis).

So Bain slipped up. Bain is not Romney, exactly. But the Romney campaign, in an email to the Boston Globe demanding a retraction of its 7/12 story detailing Romney's maintenance of his President and CEO status during his Olympic tenure, cites the Bain statement, thereby implicitly verifying it:
As we provided to the Globe, while Mitt Romney continued to be listed on filings as the ownership of the firm changed hands, he was involved in no management or investment decisions during this period.  This hasbeen [sic] detailed in disclosure forms which said: “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 has also been confirmed by Bain Capital which has stated: "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."
There it is: a clean contradiction. Romney sat on the board of the LifeLike Co., a dollmaker that was a Bain portfolio company while Romney was in Utah, and in June 2002 he told the Massachusetts Ballot Law Commission that he had remained active on that board, as well as on the board of Bain alum company Staples. The Bain statement says that he had no involvement with any Bain portfolio companies since the day of his departure in 1999, and the Romney campaign cites that statement as an authoritative source.  The Romney campaign is therefore asserting that Romney lied to the Ballot Commission in 2002.

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