By Henry Decker
Mitt Romney’s Bain problem just got a lot worse.
According to a new report by Mother Jones’ David Corn, Bain Capital made a $75 million investment in Stericycle — a medical waste disposal firm that has been attacked by right wing groups for disposing of aborted fetuses — while Romney was still actively involved in the company in 1999. This news is sure to upset social conservatives, and it also directly contradicts Romney’s account of when he left Bain.
Romney’s connection to Stericycle was first reported in January by The Huffington Post, but the story never gained traction because Bain Capital claimed that Romney left the firm to run the Winter Olympics in February of 1999 — meaning that he had nothing to do with the deal. According to SEC documents unearthed by Corn, however, Romney was still actively involved in the firm’s leadership through the end of that year:
The SEC filing lists assorted Bain-related entities that were part of the deal, including Bain Capital (BCI), Bain Capital Partners VI (BCP VI), Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors (a Bermuda-based Bain affiliate), and Brookside Capital Investors (a Bain offshoot). And it notes that Romney was the “sole shareholder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of BCI, BCP VI Inc., Brookside Inc. and Sankaty Ltd.”
The document also states that Romney “may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to” 2,116,588 shares of common stock in Stericycle “in his capacity as sole shareholder” of the Bain entities that invested in the company. That was about 11 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock. (The whole $75 million investment won Bain, Romney, and their partners 22.64 percent of the firm’s stock—the largest bloc among the firm’s owners.) The original copy of the filing was signed by Romney.
Another SEC document filed November 30, 1999, by Stericycle also names Romney as an individual who holds “voting and dispositive power” … Read More
The irony of today’s campaign fisticuffs: FOX News tries to clear Romney’s name with a statement about his tenure at Bain Capital:
Contacted by Fox News and asked about the documents, a source at Bain Capital insisted that Romney never returned to the firm or did any substantive work for it, or for its “portfolio companies,” after February 1999. – July 2, FOX News in a piece about “Obama’s Vicious Lies” about Bain Capital. (emphasis mine)
But documents filed by Bain and Stericycle with the Securities and Exchange Commission–and obtained by Mother Jones–list Romney as an active participant in the investment. And this deal helped Stericycle, a company with a poor safety record, grow, while yielding tens of millions of dollars in profits for Romney and his partners. The documents–one of which was signed by Romney–also contradict the official account of Romney’s exit from Bain. (emphasis mine)
What Will Matt Rhoades Do?
In the field of political campaigns, the campaign manager is king – when he can do his job right: he is not merely a “spin meister” but the man who navigates the entire campaign through thick and thin waters. The problem with being a Republican campaign manager, is that candidates are vetted too poorly: if a campaign manager doesn’t know exactly how many times and exactly where a candidate peed in his life, he’s hamstrung…and worthless. Rick Perry’s manager, Joe Allbaugh, would no doubt have loved to know about Perry’s “N*ggerhead” and the McCain campaign showed world class non-vetting when it chose Sarah Palin. Matt Rhoades is a very quiet, behind-the-scenes character. Suspiciously so: … Read More
By Paul Krugman
In a better America, Mitt Romney would be running for president on the strength of his major achievement as governor of Massachusetts: a health reform that was identical in all important respects to the health reform enacted by President Obama. By the way, the Massachusetts reform is working pretty well and has overwhelming popular support.
In reality, however, Mr. Romney is doing no such thing, bitterly denouncing the Supreme Court for upholding the constitutionality of his own health care plan. His case for becoming president relies, instead, on his claim that, having been a successful businessman, he knows how to create jobs.
This, in turn, means that however much the Romney campaign may wish otherwise, the nature of that business career is fair game. How did Mr. Romney make all that money? Was it in ways suggesting that what was good for Bain Capital, the private equity firm that made him rich, would also be good for America?
And the answer is no.
The truth is that even if Mr. Romney had been a classic captain of industry, a present-day Andrew Carnegie, his career wouldn’t have prepared him to manage the economy. A country is not a company (despite globalization, America still sells 86 percent of what it makes to itself), and the tools of macroeconomic policy — interest rates, tax rates, spending programs — have no counterparts on a corporate organization chart. Did I mention that Herbert Hoover actually was a great businessman in the classic mold?
In any case, however, Mr. Romney wasn’t that kind of businessman. Bain didn’t build businesses; … Read More
By Lynn Zhong
Mitt Romney never wanted to release his tax returns. He refused disclosure in 1994 during his unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid, in 2002 when he won election as Governor of Massachusetts, and in his failed 2008 attempt to gain the Republican nomination for President. Last January Romney finally released his 2010 tax return and an estimate for 2011 after constant badgering by his Republican primary rivals.
Those documents revealed his offshore bank accounts and his tax rate, just shy of 15 percent, or less than what most middle-class Americans pay, despite his estimated worth of up to $250 million. As the Washington Post reported: “By offering a limited description of his assets, Romney has made it difficult to know precisely where his money is invested, whether it is offshore or in controversial companies, or whether those holdings could affect his policies or present any conflicts of interest.” Now journalist and author Nicholas Shaxson digs deeper in a new investigation published by Vanity Fair.
According to Shaxson, Romney is using every possible loophole to avoid paying more taxes. He takes his payments from Bain Capital as investment income, allowing him to pay at a rate much lower than the 35 percent he would owe if he had earned an “ordinary income” of salaries and wages.
But as Shaxson also points out, nobody even knows how much Romney should pay because nobody knows what his offshore accounts actually hold. He maintains accounts and entities not only in Switzerland, but in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands as well.
Consider the example of Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd., a Bermuda-based corporation set up by Romney in 1997. This entity wasn’t even disclosed in financial documents until 2010, and upon examining that return, Shaxon writes: “We have no idea what is in this company, but it could be valuable, meaning that it is possible Romney’s wealth is even greater than previous estimates.” … Read More
By E.J. Dionne Jr. Opinion Writer
While the Supreme Court’s upholding of the health-care law was last week’s most important event in historical terms, it will not be the decisive event of the 2012 election. In the long run, polling in swing states suggesting that Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital is hurting him could have larger implications for where this campaign will move.
It’s certainly true that had the court knocked down President Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the defeat would have been woven into a narrative of ineffectual leadership and mistaken priorities. Instead, the president found vindication not only from the court’s liberals but also from Chief Justice John Roberts.
But precisely because the decision saved the president from disaster on health care, it only reinforced the importance of the economic argument Obama and Romney have been having for months. And here is where Romney’s Bain problem kicks in.
As Democrats, mostly from Washington and New York, debated the efficacy of attacks on Romney’s role in Bain, an entirely different conversation was being driven in the swing states, courtesy of ads broadcast by the Obama campaign and especially by Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama super PAC. The ads portray highly sympathetic workers who lost their jobs and companies that collapsed even as Bain’s principals made substantial profits. … Read More
The Obama campaign just acquired a truckload of ammunition to shred the Romney-as-job-creator narrative. The Washington Post reported on Friday that Bain Capital, Romney’s private equity firm, poured investments into firms that specialized in outsourcing American jobs.
“During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain (…) ” the report says, “it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components.”
The response from the Romney campaign was swift but not quite persuasive:
“This is a fundamentally flawed story that does not differentiate between domestic outsourcing versus offshoring nor versus work done overseas to support U.S. exports. Mitt Romney spent 25 years in the real world economy so he understands why jobs come and they go,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “As president, he will implement policies that make it easier and more attractive for companies to create jobs here at home. President Obama’s attacks on profit and job creators make it less attractive to create jobs in the U.S.”
Tom Hamburger’s report, however, rebutted that argument by specifying how American jobs were shipped overseas:
Bain’s foray into outsourcing began in 1993 when the private equity firm took a stake in Corporate Software Inc., or CSI, … Read More
April 23, 2012
Exclusive: Last week, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney claimed his dad had been attacked by President Obama, who “likes to attack fellow Americans.” Yet, Romney’s verbal assault on Obama was itself a multi-layered fabrication that revealed Romney consummate skill as a professional liar, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
The guilty pleasure of watching the TV series “The Good Wife” – besides the scenes with Kalinda (the private investigator played by Archie Panjabi) – rests in the ethical ambiguities at the intersection of law and politics, a place where truth and morality are relative, sometimes useful but at other times sacrificed for profit, power or legal tactics.
Yet, the show recently introduced a new character, a lawyer-politician played by Matthew Perry who tells blatant lies. He coolly makes up conversations and circumstances that are total fabrications but also can’t be easily disproved. Even from the moral fog of her personal and professional life, The Good Wife character ayed by Julianna Margulies is shocked.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney
In Campaign 2012, Mitt Romney is the Matthew Perry character, a politician who cuts through the hazy world of political half-truths with the clarity of strategic lying. Indeed, he lies with a confidence that may be a special right of the well-connected rich who are beyond accountability.
Take for example, Romney’s response to President Barack Obama’s comment last week at a community college in Elyria, Ohio. Obama noted that he wasn’t from a rich family … Read More