Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Mitt Romney has consistently said he was in not involved with Bain Capital after 1999.
Yet SEC filings says Romney was the “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president” until 2002, when he and the firm agreed to a severance package. Additional SEC filings show Romney’s signature on deals that took place after 1999. It matters because it was after 1999 that Bain, as owner of a number of distressed companies, shipped U.S. jobs overseas.
President Obama is running ads saying Romney either lied on federal documents, or is lying now to the American people. Romney has sought to clarify the position by saying while he was the owner of Bain Capital at the time in question, and that he had no involvement in the “management” of the company during that period. Romney has also said he will not release his tax returns from the years in question, which would presumably detail the compensation he did or did not receive from Bain.
It remains to be seen if the American people will accept Romney’s explanation that as an owner who signed documents involving multimillion dollar deals he truly had no involvement in the management of the company. As a candidate seeking to show he is in touch with average Americans, this issue could continue to be a problem and ammunition for President Obama.
The backdrop of continuing Wall Street scandals, with corporate executives seeking to deflect responsibility for what happened on their watch, doesn’t help Romney either. The fact that Mitt Romney went on five television networks to deflect and respond to the Bain charges is an indication of just how big a deal this issue is. In a razor-tight election, it is the American people who will decide whether Romney’s Bain tenure is a deal breaker when it comes to how they vote in November.