When did Romney bail on Bain?

The presidential candidate claims he left in February 1999, but documents complicate that picture

Topics: Mitt Romney, Bain Capital, 2012 Elections,

When did Romney bail on Bain?Mitt Romney (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

One of the key questions in the ongoing war over Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital is when he actually left the firm. The campaign has always maintained that Romney resigned in February of 1999 to take the helm of the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, but there’s plenty of evidence that complicates this narrative.

Today, Mother Jones’s David Corn reports on SEC filings he obtained that seem to show that Romney was still involved in active decision-making as late as November 1999. Romney personally signed off on a deal to purchase a medical-waste disposal company called Stericycle and was listed as the “sole shareholder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President” of various Bain funds vested in the company. A document filed on November 30, 1999, by Stericycle also lists Romney as holding “voting and dispositive power” in the Bain-held stock. “[W]hy would he be the only Bain executive named as the person in control of this large amount of Stericycle stock?” Corn asks.

It’s a good question and one with tremendous importance.

Twice, first in 2007 during his earlier presidential bid and again this year, Romney filed personal disclosure forms with the Office of Government Ethics which explicitly state that Romney left Bain in early 1999. “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,” his ethics filings from June state.

You Might Also Like

Romney’s campaign has aggressively responded to reports that suggest otherwise. Last week, the campaign met with the Washington Post in an attempt to get the paper to retract its blockbuster report on Bain’s investment in companies that outsource jobs. A PowerPoint presentation prepared by the campaign pushes back on one of the paper’s claims by stating, “Governor Romney left Bain to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics in February 1999.” (The Post refused to retract the story.)

Independent fact checkers have also used Romney’s official departure date to dismiss opponents’ attacks on Romney’s record at the company, such as a report from FactCheck.org this weekend that chides the Obama campaign for “overreaching” in its attacks on Romney’s outsourcing. Responding to the site, the Obama campaign pointed to, among other things, a 1999 interview with the Boston Herald in which “Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions.” The campaign also notes that, “according to the SEC database, there are at least 63 filings with that agency after March 1, 1999, that list various Bain entities and describe them as ‘wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.’”

Not included in the Obama campaign’s letter is another SEC filing that seems to have received little attention thus far. This one, for DDi Corp., an electronics maker that Bain invested in, is dated May 10, 2001, and lists Romney as a “member of the Management Committee” of two Bain-related funds. Like the filing Corn highlighted, it also says Romney and another partner share “voting and dispositive power.” However, it does add that the filing “shall not be construed as an admission that W. Mitt Romney [is] … the beneficial owner of shares held by such entities.”

In 2007, the Post also reported that Romney’s lawyer said that “Romney finally resigned and reduced his role at the company to that of a passive investor in 2001 when it became clear that he was going to run for Massachusetts governor after the Olympics.” Meanwhile, Romney profited from Bain long after he left, earning a share of over two dozen funds (twice the number he had when he left) thanks to his retirement package.

If Romney had a role in Bain’s activities after February 1999, it could also implicate him in some other less-than-flattering moments in Bain’s history, such as the case of GS Industries, which went bankrupt in 2001 after trying to seek a bailout from the federal government.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>