We readily admit that there is grey area about Romney’s involvement with Bain in the 1999-2002 period, because his future post-Olympics role had not been settled and the future of Bain Capital was in flux. Some have seized on the SEC documents as evidence, but we think there are two stronger pieces of evidence that trump these random filings.ADDED: I strongly disagree with that last sentence. An incumbent President running for reelection should not unleash his executive powers to hound his opponent with a criminal investigation. That is not preferable. There's no decent "put your money where your mouth is" argument for that. It's not his money, it's the authority of the United States government, and that must not be appropriated for political gain. Within the political arena, he can make whatever arguments he wants over any evidence that's out there about his opponent, and he incurs the risks that people will judge his arguments weak or even disgusting and dishonest. That's the process and it's working. Don't push the candidate into some other, abusive process!
Indeed, if someone wanted to make a criminal case, why quibble with ancient SEC documents? In 2011, Romney, as a presidential candidate, filed a public financial disclosure form, under pain of perjury, that stated:
“Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way.”You can see Romney’s signature, on the first page, in which he states: “I certify that statements I have made on this form and all attached schedules are true, complete and correct to the best of my knowledge.” If Romney lied on this form, that would be a felony.
Moreover, there is another document — the 2002 Massachusetts Ballot Law Commission report that certified that Romney could run for governor.... [A]n official state investigation concluded that Romney no longer worked at Bain as of early 1999, and also was working “12 hours a day, six days a week” on the Olympics from 1999 to 2002. That also would seem to trump the SEC filings....
We were tempted to award this claim Four Pinocchios, but the documents with his signature leave some room for inquiry. But, overall, they shrink in importance to the other evidence cited above.
Still, if the Obama campaign wants to put its money where its mouth is, it should immediately lodge a complaint about Romney’s financial disclosure form, filed just last year, rather than try to mislead people about potential violations in relatively unimportant SEC documents.
July 13, 2012
WaPo Fact Checker gives the Obama campaign 3 "Pinocchios" for using Bain's SEC documents to portray Romney as a criminal.
Glenn Kessler went back over the story (which yesterday he characterized as already well-studied and rejected). Excerpt: