Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mitt Romney 'Retired Retroactively' From Bain Capital

That's the big buzz this afternoon. Adviser Ed Gillespie argued that Romney retired "retroactively" in 1999. See National Journal, "Gillespie: Romney 'Retired Retroactively' from Bain."

Lots more at Memeorandum.

And check the banner headline at the Hufffington Post, "Ed Gillespie: Mitt Romney 'Retired Retroactively' From Bain Capital." Also, "Mitt Romney Bain Capital Document Lists Him As 'Managing Member' In 2002."

To read Huffington Post things look just horrible, just completely horrible, right?

Not really. The fact is Romney left Bain in 1999. He continued to have a consulting role with the company but did not have executive decision-making responsibility. According to Ed Conard, a partner at Bain until 2007, "Mitt's names were on the documents as the chief executive and sole owner of the company ... Legally, on documents, I suppose, yes." That's an interview with radical leftist Chris Hayes at MSNBC. Conard also says Romney kept legal ties to the firm during negotiations over his compensation package:
We had to negotiate with Mitt because he was an owner of the firm....

He'd created a lot of franchise value, and we were going to pay him for that...

We had a very complicated set of negotiations that took us about two years for us to unwind. During that time a management committee ran the firm, and we could hardly get Mitt to come back to negotiate the terms of his departure because he was working so hard on the Olympics...
It's indicative that the commenters there are unhappy with Conard's interview, since his version corresponds with Romney's statements. But progressives think they've got the magic bullet to destroy Romney (and the intensity of the attacks are noteworthy in light of Obama's abysmal track record), so every seeming inconsistency will be raked over as the biggest lie in American history. Whatever happens, it's not a very compelling reelection platform, and even some lefties are shrugging their shoulders. Here's Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, for example:
Politically, I understand why this story has gotten so much oxygen. And it's worth digging into, since Romney has inexplicably opened himself up to it by insisting over and over that he had literally zero involvement with Bain during the 1999-2002 period, something that seems unlikely for a CEO and sole shareholder. But honestly, as Dave Weigel says, there's nothing all that new about this story. Romney took a leave from Bain in 1999, probably had a bit of contact with Bain's management during the next few years, and was involved in both strategic and daily decisionmaking only tangentially. In other words, not very involved, but not quite zero either. Beyond that, the details hardly matter.
There you go.

PREVIOUSLY: "Mitt Romney Had 'Absolutley No Involvement' in Bain Management After Departure in 1999," and "Mitt Romney Left Bain Capital in February 1999."