The story of Stericycle has been diaried a few times since David Corn reported on it a few days ago. I bring it up again to remind you that it hasn't received significant media attention yet, and that there are several reasons why this saga has legs.
First and (politically) foremost, Stericycle was in the business of disposing medical waste -- among other things, aborted human fetuses. Among its clients was Planned Parenthood. It's pretty easy to see why the optics of this would be bad for W. Mitt, which is why his folks quashed it right quick when the story broke before the South Carolina primary:
He maintained ownership in Bain and kept holdings in its private equity funds, which included Stericycle stock, but he had no say in the managerial or strategic decisions at the firm, according to Bain officials.David Corn notes that one of the vehicles that owned Stericycle was Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors, Ltd., but in this paragraph--
Another SEC document filed November 30, 1999, by Stericycle also names Romney as an individual who holds "voting and dispositive power" with respect to the stock owned by Bain. If Romney had fully retired from the private equity firm he founded, why would he be the only Bain executive named as the person in control of this large amount of Stericycle stock?
--he misses an important point. Sankaty is the Bermuda corporation that was listed on Mitt's 2010 tax return. It was not owned by Bain; instead,
Sankaty was transferred to a trust owned by Romney's wife, Ann, one day before he was sworn in as Massachusetts governor in 2003, according to Bermuda records obtained by The Associated Press. The Romneys' ownership of the offshore firm did not appear on any state or federal financial reports during Romney's two presidential campaigns. Only the Romneys' 2010 tax records, released under political pressure earlier this year, confirmed their continuing control of the company.So the Romneys owned Stericycle stock through Sankaty -- not as part of Bain. And that's an extremely important point: If Mitt wasn't involved in Bain, why did he invest directly in Stericycle?
It's obvious why abortion foes would object to this, of course; but I think there's a larger point, and that goes to the non-release of the tax returns. Many have suggested nefarious reasons why those returns have not been released. I'm coming to believe that the reason is more tactical in nature. I'm betting that Mitt has been a truly amoral (n.b.: NOT immoral) investor. If it made money and wasn't patently illegal, he'd invest in it. If his tax returns are public, they will show bets on all kinds of things that look -- well, unseemly for a President to be involved in. Mitt must know this; it's obviously why he transferred Sankaty to Ann's blind trust. It's also obviously why he put long-time confidante Brad Malt in charge of the Romney's trusts, no doubt with an eye to weeding out the investments that shouldn't see the prying eyes of voters.
When Mitt's folks vetted his returns, I think they still found things like Stericycle that would damage him. Not illegal, as I said, but not good. Let's hope when the Globe or the Post or the Times gets ahold of Stericycle, it points out the direct tie to the Romneys and not the Bain connection -- and wonders what else is lurking on Mitt's tax returns.