Report: Romney at Bain Three Years Longer Than He Claimed

Jonathan Miller
National Journal

Mitt Romney has long maintained that he left the private equity firm Bain Capital in February 1999 to work on the Salt Lake City Olympics, but government documents uncovered by The Boston Globe suggest he remained chief executive and chairman for three more years.

A Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 said he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002, The Globe reported. Another state disclosure form indicates he earned roughly $100,000 as an “executive” at Bain in both 2001 and 2002 – apart from his investment earnings. The report did not make any indication that Romney took an active role in the company during this time.

Romney’s exact departure date from the company has become a critical issue in the campaign because he has claimed that he was not involved with the company when some of its holdings went bankrupt or had to lay off workers.  It is also critical in determining whether Romney played any role in alleged outsourcing.

A Romney spokesperson disputed the report, saying that it was "not accurate." Bain also disputed the report, saying in a statement to The Globe: “Mitt Romney retired from Bain Capital in February 1999. He has had no involvement in the management or investment activities of Bain Capital, or with any of its portfolio companies, since that time.” According to Bloomberg, Bain also said that transferring ownership of the company from Romney to his successors was prolonged "due to the sudden nature" of Romney's departure to helm the Olympics. 

According to The Globe, Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed by Bain Capital state he was the firm’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.” The report does not state how long he retained such a title following February 1999.

Talking Points Memo had earlier uncovered SEC filings that indicated Romney was still listed as a "managing director" of the company beyond February 1999.

In addition, Mother Jones magazine has a new report out suggesting that in 1998, while Romney was still at the firm, a Bain affiliate -- Brookside Capital Partners Fund -- may have invested $14.2 million in a Chinese manufacturing firm that profited from U.S. outsourcing.