Romney Was There; He Wasn't There: Will Mitt Run America Like He Did Bain?

Jul 13 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Find Romney: New Revelations in Romney Left Bain Gate, Will He Run America Like He Ran Bain?

Romney’s response to all of the BainGate hoopla seems to be that he was in charge, he was the sole stockholder, President and CEO, but he wasn’t responsible for what the company did. This begs the question, would Romney run America like he ran Bain? Reaping the money, the glory, and the power without taking any responsibility for his decisions?

This morning was another dark morning for Mitt Romney. On the heels of revelations yesterday that he most certainly did not leave Bain when he said he did, new facts came to light that give more weight to the notion that even he knew he was still at Bain, like his own testimony claiming he was eligible to run for Governor of Massachusetts because he traveled back from Utah regularly for “board meetings.”

Romney was also on the board of Bain invested Staples, Marriott, and Bain invested Lifelike at the time. In testimony to defend his right to run for Governor of Massachusetts even though he was in Utah, Romney cited these board meetings and other trips back home. Ryan Grim and Jason Cherkis reported this morning for Huffington Post:

Mitt Romney’s repeated claim that he played no part in executive decision-making related to Bain Capital after 1999 is false, according to Romney’s own testimony in June 2002, in which he admitted to sitting on the board of the LifeLike Co., a dollmaker that was a Bain investment during the period.

Romney has consistently insisted that he was too busy organizing the 2002 Winter Olympics to take part in Bain business between 1999 and that event. But in the testimony, which was provided to The Huffington Post, Romney noted that he regularly traveled back to Massachusetts. “[T]here were a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meetings, Thanksgiving and so forth,” he said.

Romney testified that he “remained on the board of the Staples Corporation and Marriott International, the LifeLike Corporation” at the time.

Of course, even without a flight back, in 2000 we all had fax machines, the Internet, and email, so business could be conducted from Utah without a flight home. But more importantly in terms of the general electorate is the question – Romney says he should be President because he’s a businessman. Would he run American like he ran Bain?

This is why candidates are vetted. Romney is running on his success as a businessman. While I don’t happen to buy into the frame that America is a business that would benefit from being parceled off and sold so that the top 1% can pocket more money, there are some business skills that would enhance a candidate’s appeal — like leadership.

Where is Romney’s leadership at Bain? He was there, he wasn’t there, he was the sole stock owner – he was profiting off of the outsourcing, but he wants to deny responsibility for it.

He says he was running it from Utah and coming home for business meetings and then he says he was only involved as a technicality. The Romney campaign says in spite of his legal and financial ties to Bain, Romney wasn’t “in charge”. Those documents that say he was? Those are irrelevant. Filing inaccurate SEC filings and certifying false disclosure reports are federal felonies. Is the Romney campaign suggesting that Mitt Romney is above the law, that we have no right to ask why he said one thing and filed another?

Politco reported this morning that in 2002, Romney said he was taking a “leave of absence” from Bain, not leaving the company. Yet Bain has attempted to claim that the only reason Romney was still listed as sole stock owner, President and CEO is because he left so quickly in 1999. Does it take years for Romney to take care of business like transferring responsibility to the board?

That claim contradicts other evidence of Romney signing documents on Bain’s behalf during the time period in question, from 1999-2002, as well as Romney’s own Massachusetts disclosure filing from 2003 that states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002.

Last night I wrote that Romney should be investigated based on FactCheck’s own reason for concluding that Romney was not responsible for the outsourcing of Bain after 1999 – Romney’s filings with the SEC and disclosure forms. Suddenly, out of nowhere (what were the Republican opposition candidates doing in the primaries?) we find out that there are filings claiming Romney was in charge. And not just Romney’s own filings, but the filings of another company, Stericycle.

Romney’s failure to come clean, to own up to the outsourcing from the beginning, is bringing closer scrutiny on the companies he did business with, as well as shining a light on his leadership style.

Romney’s message to Americans is that he’s not going to explain himself, he’s not going to release his tax returns like every other candidate, and we should all trust him because he is a businessman. This is odd, because wouldn’t releasing his tax returns show us just how successful of a businessman he was? Why not do it?

The message is that Romney will decide what you get to know and what you don’t get to know about him, his money, his investments, and the way he leads, even though historically Presidential candidates release this information and have real blind trusts, not run by their lawyer who is investing in Romney’s son’s company (raising questions about how blind is blind). Romney doesn’t think it’s any of our business that he claimed he was CEO and President of Bain, making a huge profit off of outsourcing, while denying responsibility for the outsourcing of jobs.

See, while it’s perfectly feasible that a mistake was made on one filing, it is not so easy to buy on multiple years and of different companies. And as the Romney campaign attempts to hide under “you don’t know how business is done” deflections, the only sane response to that is, “Show us how it’s done, since that is what you are running on.” Show us the tax returns, show us what leadership means to Mitt Romney.

It’s worth noting that the Republicans are taking refuge in mocking anyone who questions whether Romney was still at Bain during the massive outsourcing of jobs, claiming they must think Romney is superman to run the Olympics and run Bain.

That’s a nice shell game, but the truth is that Romney was on many boards then, and by his own admission was able to attend meetings or take them by phone. If you are at the top of the food chain, you get all of the perks – you make all of the money, sometimes only having to attend a few meetings a year. The bad news is that you are also responsible for what goes down, because you are the leader. If Romney took on too much and wasn’t able to oversee a company he was President of, that doesn’t say much for his leadership skills. After all, he is running for President of America.

Is President something he thinks he can phone in, taking the perks and denying the responsibility, because that seems to be his Bain leadership style from 1999-2002. He was the sole stock owner. He made the money, but now he expects to be able to deny responsibility for how that money was made. The only way this flies is if he admits that he was a bad leader, who wasn’t actually leading.

If you want someone who isn’t going to be accountable for the decisions made under his leadership, Mitt Romney is your guy. He wants to be President, but he says as President of Bain, he was not responsible for how he made profits or the jobs that were outsourced. He’s the President, sure, and he reaps the rewards, but he’s not responsible for what goes on under his watch.

Sure, Romney’s name was on the door and the money went into his account, but he was out of town then.

Image: cropped version of photo taken by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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