"Excuse me, Mr. Romney, but I believe this is your signature...."Romney can get red in the face defending his honor. He can hold his breath until he turns blue waiting for an apology. But he can't deny what he wrote in black and white. Well, he can try... but it won't work.
Looking at the database holding documents relating to Romney's tenure at Bain shocked me. I was shocked to realize this was the same database that introduced me to the web twenty years ago.
In 1992, a software application called Lynx was released for beta testing. By today's standards it wasn't very exciting. It was a crummy little text-based browser for something called the World-Wide Web. But twenty years ago, when 28.8 modems were the norm, it was revolutionary. For the first time in history, individual investors had the tools they needed to search the EDGAR database on their own FOR FREE.
EDGAR has matured over the last twenty years. But the output is still basically the same. It is flat text. No fancy graphics. No cute animations. Just boring legal documents companies file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. That's the government agency responsible for regulating the financial industry.
As you would expect, this is dry stuff. But it is searchable. THAT makes it interesting. For example -- if you enter the search string "Romney Bain" and limit your search to the time frame 2000 and 2012, you know what you find?
You don't have to guess. I can show you. Voila......
This is what you get.
Your search matched 14 documents.
Before you start stepping on the links and go running off down the rabbit-hole, read the synopsis of what you will find. It will save you time and make your adventures more productive. If you know how to use EDGAR -- have at it. Romney is the Reporting Person on all the filings :)
|No.||Company||Form Type||Filing Date|
|1000||BAIN CAPITAL FUND VI LP||SC 13G/A||2/22/2001|
|949||BAIN CAPITAL FUND VI LP||SC 13G||2/14/2001|
|949||BAIN CAPITAL FUND VI LP||SC 13G||2/13/2001|
|898||BCIP ASSOCIATES||SC 13G||2/14/2001|
|949||CHIPPAC INC||SC 13G/A||2/22/2001|
|898||CHIPPAC INC||SC 13G||2/14/2001|
|898||INTEGRATED CIRCUIT SYSTEMS INC||SC 13G||2/13/2001|
|898||THERMA WAVE INC||SC 13G||2/14/2001|
|898||VDI MULTIMEDIA||SC 13D/A||6/6/2000|
|898||VDI MULTIMEDIA||SC 13D/A||1/27/2000|
|898||VDI MULTIMEDIA||SC 13D||1/3/2000|
|898||VMM MERGER CORP||SC 13D/A||6/6/2000|
|898||VMM MERGER CORP||SC 13D/A||1/27/2000|
|898||VMM MERGER CORP||SC 13D||1/3/2000|
In other words, any person who, directly or indirectly, has or shares voting or investment power ("beneficial ownership") has to let the people at the SEC know. And they have to amend these filings if there is a material change -- like a sale or acquisition. Filing these forms is how you tell the world "I own a piece of this company and actually have some power in directing its business through my ownership stake."
These forms are not filed anonymously. They are signed by someone known as the REPORTING PERSON. You can pretend corporations are persons all day long, but at the end of the day some ACTUAL person has to SIGN the documents. That is the person the IRS will want to talk to if things look suspicious. That is the person who will be deposed if there is a lawsuit. That is the person who will be called to testify to the authenticity of the documents if things wind up in court. That is the person who could easily wind up in jail if there is criminal activity. The Reporting Person is not a bystander. They are a central player. They are responsible for the accuracy and reliability of what is being reported to the SEC.
Information with respect to each Reporting Person is given solely by suchIn the case of the forms noted here, the Reporting Person is "W. Mitt Romney" -- on ALL of the forms.
Reporting Person, and no Reporting Person assumes responsibility for the
accuracy or completeness of the information furnished by another Reporting
The Reporting Persons expressly disclaim that they have agreed to act as a group other than as described in this Statement.
During the last five years, none of the Reporting Persons or the persons
identified on Schedule A attached hereto has been convicted in a criminal
proceeding (excluding traffic violations or similar misdemeanors).
During the last five years, none of the Reporting Persons or the persons
identified on Schedule A attached hereto was a party to a civil proceeding of a
judicial or administrative body of competent jurisdiction as a result of which
any person was or is subject to a judgment, decree or final order enjoining
future violations of, or prohibiting or mandating activities subject to, federal
or state securities laws or finding any violation with respect to such laws.
The media is currently focusing just on Bain Capital, but there is more to the story. We are also talking about Bain Capital's shell companies (Like Bain Capital Investors IV, AKA "BCI IV"). These had SIGNIFICANT OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL of various companies. And the guy signing for all this? W. Mitt Romney, "a citizen of the United States, as the sole stockholder of BCI VI Inc."
Don't take my word for this. Step on those links above, then follow the link labeled as the Complete submission text file. Search that text file for "Romney" and you will find W. Mitt Romney listed at top as one of the Group Members and down in the document as Reporting Person. It ain't rocket science. It took me longer to format the table above than it did to find the reports.
Here's the bottom line: If Mitt thinks he is going to use a shell corporation as a fig leaf to play "I did not have any relations with Bain Capital" we don't have to have any confusion about what "any relations" means. He signed the documents. We don't need to look for additional witnesses or whistleblowers. He signed the documents. He can whine all he wants and hold his breath as long as he likes. But the fact remains... no on is going to apologize for raising this and no one is going to ignore this. He.Signed.The.Documents.
But wait... there's more. These are just the documents filed in the US. As War On Error notes in his excellent piece of reporting, we haven't even begun to talk about Romney's role(s) in Bain Capital and associated shell companies working out of places like Luxembourg.
Brachem Acquisition SCA is just one of many dealings they had going at the time. It appears they were also involved with OME Investment SA, which had major business deals in Spain, Mexico and Panama.
Unfortunately, Luxembourg has set itself up to make it easy for people to hide their dealings. That's one reason Bain Capital has about a half dozen different companies all with the same phone number and fax number at the same address in downtown Luxembourg.
This means the only way will ever get a clear accounting of Romney's finances is if (when) he releases his tax returns. One thing is already clear. He is not going to do that without a fight. Maybe Harry Reid is right and Romney doesn't want to show he has been successfully dodging taxes for the last decade. That's understandable. After all, if you were running for president how would you like explaining to Americans that you moved your money offshore to avoid paying taxes here, and then used that money to invest in companies that moved jobs offshore so they could avoid paying people here?
UPDATE: 9:24 AM PT: For the low-information voters who glaze over when you start talking about financial documents, there is a real easy way to drive home the point. As pointed out in the comments, Louis Ludwig (aka Crashing Vor) has distilled this complex matter down into a brilliant 30 second spot:
Guess who OWNS a big chunk of EDGAR Online, "a leading source for disclosure management services, financial data and enterprise risk analytics software and solutions for both corporate and investment professionals."
You don't have to guess. I will tell you....
Bain Capital has a multimillion dollar stake in EDGAR Online. Next time Romney or his surrogates tries to downplay the seriousness of these records, someone should ask this question: "If these records aren't important, then why is Bain invested in EDGAR Online, a company whose core business is helping other companies prepare these type of documents for the Securities and Exchange Commission?"