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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at the NAACP convention in Houston July 11, 2012.    REUTERS/Richard Carson (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Mitt Romney's Bain story takes another hit (Richard Carson/Reuters)
The thing that makes this story so interesting isn't so much that there's anything surprising about Mitt Romney's role at Bain while he was running the Salt Lake Olympics; it's that Mitt Romney has spent so much time and effort denying it.
Romney has said in financial disclosure statements that he “was not involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way” after Feb. 11, 1999. But he was still legally the CEO, with numerous duties and obligations that were his alone, until early 2002.

Interviews with a half-dozen of Romney’s former partners and associates, as well as public records, show that he was not merely an absentee owner during this period. He signed dozens of company documents, including filings with regulators on a vast array of Bain’s investment entities. And he drove the complex negotiations over his own large severance package, a deal that was critical to the firm’s future without him, according to his former associates.

According to the story, Romney was not a partner in investment funds launched by Bain while he was at the Olympics in 2000 and 2001, but he retained full ownership and therefore control of the business through 2002. Aside from signing documents and filings, his primary focus during that stretch was negotiating his retirement package:
Indeed, by remaining CEO and sole shareholder, Romney held on to his leverage in the talks that resulted in his generous 10-year retirement package, according to former associates.

“The elephant in the room was not whether Mitt was involved in investment decisions but Mitt’s retention of control of the firm and therefore his ability to extract a huge economic benefit by delaying his giving up of that control,” said one former associate, who, like some other Romney associates, spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the company.

The story here is pretty much exactly what you would have expected: After leaving for the Olympics, Romney's day-to-day role with Bain was dramatically diminished. However, he maintained his stake in the firm and used his ownership leverage to drive as good a deal for his retirement as he could. Although he wasn't responsible for initiating new investments, because he was CEO and owner, they could not have been made without his support. And of course he supported those investments, as his financial future was directly linked to the firm's.

Again, none of that is surprising. What's surprising is that the Boston Globe had to do so much digging in order to put the pieces of the story together. And the reason they had to do so much digging is that Mitt Romney has staked his personal narrative on the clearly false claim that after Feb. 11, 1999 he had nothing to do with running Bain Capital. Clearly, however, he did. The question is: Why did he lie?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Bain Files.

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