35 Questions Mitt Romney Must Answer About Bain Capital Before The Issue Can Go Away
Mitt Romney conducted numerous TV and other media interviews yesterday in order to minimize the damage his campaign has received regarding discrepancies surrounding his tenure at Bain.
During times of crisis it is often a smart strategy to give virtually unlimited access to the media in order to push out your message aggressively and satisfy reporter curiosity so that the issue can be pushed off the front burner. John McCain famously did this well earlier in his career when dealing with his own Keating Five controversies.
Unfortunately for the Romney Campaign, the slew of TV interviews did little to satisfy the media. In times of crisis, a strong candidate will come up with answers that satisfy the basic questions surrounding the controversy and will make people want to move on to another subject. Romney, however, could not seem to come up with basic messages that resolved the controversies. Many of his answers seemed evasive or overly legalistic. The biggest problem for Romney is that all of his interviews have only increased the questions that political observers, voters and the media have regarding the subject of Bain Capital.
Specifically, Romney is going to have to answer the following 35 questions before this issue subsides:
1. Are you contending that an individual can simultaneously be the CEO, president, managing director of a company, and its sole stockholder and somehow be “disassociated” from the company or accurately classified as someone not having “any” formal involvement with a company?
2. You have stated that in “Feb. 1999 I left Bain capital and all management responsibility” and “I had no ongoing activity or involvement.” It depends on what the definition of “involvement” is, doesn’t it? Clearly you were involved with Bain to the extent that you owned it. Are you defining “involvement” in a uniquely specific way that only means “full-time, active, 60-hours-a-week, hands-on manager?”
3. How exactly are you defining “involvement?”
4. Surely someone from Bain occasionally called you up and asked your opinion about something work-related from 1999 to 2002. Wouldn’t that qualify as “involvement,” if only on a minor level?
5. You earned at least $100,000 as an executive from Bain in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings according to filings with State of Massachusetts. Can you give an example of anyone else you personally know getting a six figure income, not dividend or investment return, but actual income, from a company they had nothing to do with?
6. What did you do for this $100,000 salary you earned from Bain in both 2000 and 2001?
7. If you did nothing to earn this salary, did the Bain managers violate their fiduciary duty by paying you a salary for no discernible reason?
8. Are there other companies that pay you six figures a year as earned income, not investment income, for which you have no involvement?
9. In 2002, you are listed as one of two managing members of Bain Capital Investors LLC in its annual report. What does this mean?
10. On the very day after you took over the Winter Olympics, the Boston Herald reported that “Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions.” Do you now contend this was factually inaccurate?
11. Do you have records of having written to the Boston Herald asking them to make a correction on this story?
12. On July 19, 1999, a news release about the resignation of two Bain Capital managing directors describes you as CEO and “currently on a part-time leave of absence to head the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee.” Was this wrong?
13. Did you ask for a retraction?
14. Why would Bain say this if you had severed all ties in Feb 1999?
15. Isn’t it possible that if Bain had made an investment during 1999 to 2002 that you felt was truly odious, for example ownership of a legal Nevada brothel, that you could have and would have used your authority to veto such a decision?
16. If, in fact, you did not veto any major investment decision during your 1999 though 2002 ownership, doesn’t that imply your broad consent of management’s decisions?
17. According to the Boston Globe, “In a November 2000 interview with the Globe, Romney’s wife, Ann, said he had been forced to lessen, but not end entirely, his involvement with Bain Capital.” Did your wife misspeak?
18. Did you correct her?
19. According to the Boston Globe, “Romney also testified that ‘there were a number of social trips and business trips that brought [him] back to Massachusetts, board meetings’ while he was running the Olympics. He added that he remained on the boards of several companies, including the Lifelike Co., in which Bain Capital held a stake until 2001.” You testified that while running the Olympics you took a number of business trips to Massachusetts for board meetings for companies including Lifelike Co. Bain had a stake in this company until 2001. Are you contending that you could attend board meetings for Lifelike Co. at the same time Bain Capital had a stake in Lifelike Co and at the same time you owned the stock of Bain Capital, but that somehow your attending a board meeting for a company partially owned by Bain had nothing to do with Bain because you were on the board as Mitt Romney the individual, not as the representative of Bain?
20. If yes to the previous question, do you understand that anyone who did not graduate in the top 5% of his class from Harvard Law School, as you did, may have a hard time understanding this?
21. You seem to be suggesting that once you stepped down from full-time, 7-day-a-week, 18-hour-a-day management that you were no longer “involved.” You claim you had “no role whatsoever in the management.” Assume for the moment that everyone, even in the Obama campaign concedes that after Feb 1999 you were no longer the 100% full-time, hands-on manager of Bain. Isn’t it fair to suggest that an individual could still have a role in managing a company through the occasional phone call, meeting and email, even if they didn’t involve monumental decisions, such as hiring and firing?
22. When you demanded an apology from the Obama Campaign you seem to suggest that they have stated that you deserve blame for outsourcing done at Bain from 1999 to 2001 because they stated that you were the full-time active manger of Bain during that time. Can you cite a single ad, press release or statement from the Obama Campaign where they specify that you were the full-time manager of Bain from 1999 to 2001?
23. Every time a reporter asks you “why were you listed by Bain in SEC documents as the CEO in 2000-2002,” you respond that everyone knows you were no longer the active manger after Feb. 1999 and that you owned stock in Bain but did not manage anything. That may well be, but that doesn’t answer the question as to why Bain listed you as CEO, president and managing director. Why won’t you answer a simple question that involves basic facts that are undisputed?
24. Why do SEC documents claim you were Chief Executive Officer, President, and Managing Director of Bain Capital 2000 and 2001 if you were merely the sole owner?
25. Did you sign this SEC document?
26. Is this accurate or not?
27. If you didn’t sign it, is someone guilty of lying to the SEC?
28. True or false, it is a felony to lie on SEC filings?
29. When asked “Did you attend board meetings for Bain after 1999,” you responded by saying “I did not manage Bain after 1999,” or that you didn’t attend any meetings involving things like firing people. This seems to suggest the possibility that you did attend Bain meetings in 2000 and 2001 that did not involve hiring or firing people or where you made the final decisions on investments. Is that possible?
30. If not, why not just give a blanket statement that you never attended a single board meeting for Bain after Feb. 1999?
31. If Obama owned slum apartments in Chicago that horribly mistreated poor people and didn’t provide them heat or running water, but Obama hired a real estate management firm to manage the building and collect rent, do you think it would be fair to criticize him for being a hypocritical slum lord who showed no compassion for poor people?
32. You seem to stress the word “management” a great deal. You had no role in active “management” of Bain after Feb 1999. You then seem to suggest that the only other role for a person to be involved with a company is as an investor. Isn’t there a third role?
33. Couldn’t you have been an active adviser or consultant, the way many chairmen of the board are?
34. You are obviously bright, hard working and energetic. Isn’t is possible that you put in 60 hours a week on the Olympics but still put in 5 hours a week as an active consultant or adviser by phone, email and the occasional meeting with the full time managers of Bain?
35. In general, don’t full-time hired managers often seek the “advice” of absentee owners and then do everything they can to implement that “advice?”