The Bain of Romney’s existence

Mitt Romney, who says under his reign Bain Capital was a plus-jobs creator, has dismissed attacks on his record for more than a decade arguing the companies that went belly-up or cut jobs did so after he left Bain in 1999 to go run the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Well, maybe not. The Boston Globe today reveals Massachusetts ethics forms and federal corporate records signed by Romney indicate the former governor had hold of the reins until 2002, three years after he declared his hands were clean and well into the pillaging claimed by President Obama’s camp. And Mother Jones, which had previously reported on the federal filings, reports today that while Romney decries losing jobs to China, Bain had a large stake in a Chinese company that profited from US outsourcing.

Romney aides this morning were quick to try to plug the holes in the dike. As in the Globe story, Romney aides this morning say it’s a matter of interpretation and how you split the hair. The aides say that, well, yes, Romney did sign the Securities and Exchange Commission papers saying he was the sole stockholder and manager of Bain but that was a technicality. He was gone in 1999 because he says he was gone in 1999 and you can take that to the bank. Kind of like the President Clinton answer of what “is” is?

So the question becomes why did he submit the Statement of Financial Interest to the State Ethics Commission listing a six-figure salary from Bain beyond his stock holdings? And, why did he sign statements for the SEC under the penalty of perjury – not to mention potential investor lawsuits – that say he ran the company when he didn’t? It will be difficult to say it doesn’t matter when so much relies on those statements.

“You can’t say statements filed with the SEC are meaningless. This is a fact in an SEC filing,” Roberta S. Karmel, a former SEC commissioner, told the Globe. “It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to say he was technically in charge on paper but he had nothing to do with Bain’s operations. Was he getting paid? He’s the sole stockholder. Are you telling me he owned the company but had no say in its investments?”

Those are questions that could leave Romney on the defensive once again. The issue has been the focus of Obama ads and Romney recently started hitting back on the truthfulness of the Democrats’ claim, showing fact-checkers’ conclusion that Romney did not ship jobs overseas. But much of that is based on Romney’s declaration that he was out by 1999. Will that change the facts for the fact-checkers?

It also comes as Democrats have ramped up the heat on Romney over his offshore accounts and investments. Romney has declared everything’s in a blind trust so he doesn’t have much say in it. But, lo and behold, a clip has surfaced of Romney running against Sen. Edward Kennedy in 1994 attacking Kennedy for his family’s blind trusts.

“The blind trust is an age-old ruse,” Romney said back then. “You give a blind trust rules. You can say to a blind trust, don’t invest in properties which would be in conflict of interest or where the seller might think they’re going to get an advantage from me.”

In this day of computer storage and the Internet, you can bank on much more to surface about both candidates.

                                                                                                                                                    –JACK SULLIVAN


Gov. Deval Patrick strikes a deal with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe for its $500 million casino in Taunton, AP reports (via WBUR). The Cape Cod Times report is here.

Secretary of State William Galvin has officially certified three questions for the November ballot.  Voters will be asked to weigh in on whether to legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients; allow the dispensing of medical marijuana to patients with cancer, glaucoma, and other conditions for which it has been shown to provide relief; and ensure that independent auto mechanics have access to the same repair data and diagnostic codes as dealer-owned shops.

The Massachusetts House overrides three vetoes of Gov. Deval Patrick’s dealing with EBT reform, closing the Taunton State Hospital, and requiring proof of residency when applying for a driver’s license, the Item reports. The Telegram and Gazette notes Patrick was out of state at the time.

CommonWealth editor Bruce Mohl does a video interview with Sen. Jamie Eldridge about a recent state report on who is receiving state tax credits.

The Boston Herald questions whether it’s appropriate for the state Gaming Commission to try and drum up more competition for a casino license for the eastern part of the state.

Katherine Gonzalves tells reporters she is telling the truth about the alleged attack on her by state Rep. Carlos Henriquez. Gonzalves’s attorney goes on NECN’s Broadside to discuss the case. Kevin Peterson, a CommonWealth contributor, comments on the case in the  Bay State Banner.

The Globe reports that state officials are trying to determine whether public agencies here lost any money as a result of the rate-fixing scandal involving a key London benchmark known as the Libor rate.


An East Bridgewater police officer fired for insubordination and lying is the third family member — including his father, the former chief — to be fired by the department since 2006 for on-the-job infractions.

The private company that runs Hingham’s water supply, as well as that of several other communities, says if the town moves ahead with buying the system, it will cost $184.5 million, more than three times what Hingham officials say.


Massachusetts Sen. Dan Wolf testifies in Washington that the Bay State’s version of health care reform hasn’t stunted economic growth.


Romney drew boos when he addressed a national NAACP conference yesterday.  Which some think was the point of his appearance.

The New York Times reports that Republicans are concerned Romney is allowing Democrats to define him after failing to respond to attacks on his record and offshore bank accounts.

Another Massachusetts presidential candidate: Jill Stein of Lexington, a Green Party fixture in the state’s gubernatorial races, is running for the White House, Time reports.

US Rep. Paul Ryan, the fiscal hearthrob of the right, says the election of Mitt Romney and a 50-50 split in the Senate would doom the health care reform law through the controversial budget reconciliation process.

First Lady Michelle Obama will make a campaign fundraising stop in Pittsfield next month.


The foundations established by Bill Gates and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced they would commit $610 million to global family planning.


New Bedford officials have signed a port agreement with the Gulf Coast port of Tuxpan, in Veracruz, Mexico, to develop shipping routes between the two cities for produce and other goods.

The state fire marshal bars a Pennsylvania fireworks company from operating in Massachusetts after workers mowing lawns in several towns run over unexploded shells from July 4 shows. Some of the shells exploded, the Sun reports.

They take paradise and put up a parking lot. Or, in this case, they take the old wooden Comet roller coaster at Lincoln Park in Dartmouth to put up condos.


Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham joins those who think Boston School Superintendent Carol Johnson failed big-time in her handling of a school principal facing domestic assault charges.


Blue Cross says global payments have cut spending by 3.3 percent so far. CommonWealth took a look at the program when it was launched last year.

The state releases figures that show savings reached $175 million last year by cities and towns that adopted the new municipal health law that allows communities power in plan design, far exceeding the initial projection $100 million. Here’s CommonWealth’s story.


A group calling itself Coal Free Massachusetts launches an effort to shut down three coal-fired power plants in Salem, Somerset, and Holyoke, the Salem News reports.


A nine-time convicted drunk driver is found not guilty of a tenth offense, despite strong testimony from the police in Haverhill, the Eagle-Tribune reports. The Boston Herald finds there are 947 drivers with five or more OUI convictions still on the roads legally because they offended before Melanie’s Law passed in 2006.

An ex-resident of a so-called sober house in Salem  files suit against the owners, claiming they represented it as a treatment facility, the Salem News reports.


The Patriot Ledger picks up CommonWealth’s piece on use restrictions placed on property sold by the Catholic Church.


CommonWealth editor Bruce Mohl responds to the series of stories by the Boston Herald on MassINC and CommonWealth magazine.

Here’s the video of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, 71, helping his 32-year-old, bikini-clad galpal Ricki Lander audition for a movie role. ESPN carries Kraft’s explanation and has a roster of commentators offer their views. The Herald’s Margery Eagan says Kraft has gone over Viagra Falls.

Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times challenges “he said, she said” journalism in a Nieman Reports article.

New York City experiments with turning public payphones into free wifi hotspots, Gigaom reports.

NBC and Microsoft are getting an online divorce, with the network buying out Microsoft’s share of MSNBC, The Daily Beast reports.

The Boston Phoenix releases its Muzzle Awards, an annual listing recognizing the “enemies of free speech” in New England.


The Atlantic thinks the US Olympic Team’s opening ceremony uniforms are silly.