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The facts on Romney’s jobs record as a corporate buyout specialist

The record shows that, as a corporate buyout specialist, Mitt Romney loaded up companies with debt and invested in companies that shipped U.S. jobs overseas. Even after he began running the Salt Lake City Olympics, he maintained full ownership of his buyout firm until August of 2001.

Some fact check organizations are struggling to determine how Romney was accountable for the firm’s role in companies that went bankrupt or outsourced jobs after 1999. Obama for America’s Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter lays out for Factcheck.org exactly why Romney is accountable for his buyout firm’s investment decisions at least through August of 2001.

1. What Romney said in this period:

According to a Boston Herald interview with Romney at the time, “Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions.” [Source: “Romney looks to restore Olympic Pride,” Boston Herald 2/12/1999]

When Romney did finally surrender control in mid-2001, the Salt Lake Tribune reported the following: “In so, he gave up control over all of Bain Capital’s voting stock, dividing the shares between the two dozen directors. The divestiture had no financial ramifications, Romney said, affecting only the management and control of the company.” [Source: “Romney Plans to Pursue Public Service,” Salt Lake Tribune 8/21/2001] In other words, prior to 2001, Romney exercised control and participated in management—just as he said he would do in 1999.

2. Interviews with Romney’s wife and his lawyer regarding this period:

In a Boston Globe interview with Ann Romney from November 2000, the reporter learned that Mitt Romney was dividing his time between running Bain and running the Olympics project: “The [Olympics] project is running smoothly now, though still requiring so much of Mitt Romney’s time that he has had to lessen his involvement with Bain Capital, his investment firm.” [Source: “West Wings Sprout,” Boston Globe 11/11/2000] Please note: not end his involvement with Bain, but “lessen it”—precisely as Romney acknowledged in shifting to part-time management involvement in 1999.

Romney’s own personal lawyer has stated that he only became a passive investor in Bain in August of 2001: “[Bradley] Malt, who was designated by the campaign to address Romney’s time at Bain, said Romney finally resigned and reduced his role at the company to that of a passive investor in 2001 when it became clear that he was going to run for Massachusetts governor after the Olympics.” [Source: “Cash, Advice on Tap at Romney’s Old Firm,” Washington Post 10/21/2007]

3. How Romney was compensated from 1999-2001:

In addition to being CEO and owner of Bain in 2001, Romney filed financial disclosures with the state of Massachusetts in 2002 and 2003 stating that for the calendar years 2001 and 2002, he received over $100,000 from Bain Capital, Inc. in connection with his position as an executive, and another $100,000-plus in income in 2001 and 2002 from Bain Capital LLC in connection with his position as an executive of that management entity. These are listed alongside his Olympics salary under the Employment category. These documents may be downloaded from the website Romneyfacts.com. In other words, these sums represented compensation for service, not the profits from the investment funds which are listed separately on the filings.

4. What filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show:

According to the SEC database, there are at least 63 filings with that agency after March 1, 1999 that list various Bain entities and describe them as “wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.”

Here is a sampling of what these filings show:

Stats Chippac, January 25, 2002

“Most of our materials suppliers are located in Asia. Historically, over half of our substrate costs were incurred from the purchase of materials from Japanese suppliers. In the future, we expect that a growing portion of these materials will be supplied by sources in Korea and Taiwan.”

The same filing lists Bain stockholdings:

“…(a) 16,303,749 shares of Class A common stock owned by Bain Capital Fund VI, L.P., whose sole general partner is Bain Capital Partners VI, L.P., whose sole general partner is Bain Capital Investors, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney; (b) 2,181,587 shares of Class A common stock owned by BCIP Associates II, whose managing general partner is Bain Capital Investors, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney; (c) 398,580 shares of Class A common stock owned by BCIP Associates II-B, whose managing general partner is Bain Capital Investors, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney; (d) 757,406 shares of Class A common stock owned by BCIP Trust Associates II, L.P., whose managing general partner is Bain Capital Investors, LLC, a Delaware limited   liability company wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney; (e) 195,878 shares of Class A common stock owned by BCIP Trust Associates II-B, whose managing general partner is Bain Investors, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney; (f) 847,004 shares of Class A common stock owned by BCIP Associates II-C, whose managing general partner is Bain Capital Investors, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.

SMTC, February 13, 2001

Summary of Bain investments via Bain Capital Fund VI:

“Bain Capital Partners VI, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership (“Bain Partners VI”), is the sole general partner of Fund VI.  Bain Capital Investors VI, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Bain Investors VI”), is the sole general partner of Bain Partners VI.  Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Investors VI and thus is the controlling person of Bain Investors VI. Bain Capital, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Bain Capital”), is the sole managing partner of the BCIP Entities. Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital and thus is the controlling person of Bain Capital.

“Bain Capital V Mezzanine Partners, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership (“Bain Partners V”) is the sole general partner of the Mezzanine Fund and BCM. Bain Capital Investors V, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Bain Investors V”) is the sole general partner of Bain Partners V. Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Investors V and thus is the controlling person of Bain Investors V. Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (“Sankaty Investors”), is the sole general partner of the Sankaty Fund. Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors, Ltd., a Bermuda corporation (“Sankaty Ltd.”), is the managing member of Sankaty Investors. Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, a director and President of Sankaty Ltd. and thus is the controlling person of Sankaty, Ltd.

Modus Media, March 14, 2000

Summary of Bain stockholdings:

“Consists of (i) 1,913,652 shares of Common Stock held by Bain Capital Fund IV, L.P., whose sole general partner is Bain Capital Partners IV, L.P., whose sole general partner is Bain Capital Investors, Inc., a Delaware corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney, (ii) 2,189,986 shares of Common Stock owned by Bain Capital Fund IV-B, L.P., whose sole general partner is Bain Capital Partners IV, L.P., whose sole general partner is Bain Capital Investors, Inc., a Delaware corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney, (iii) 2,042,670 shares of Common Stock held by Information Partners Capital Fund, L.P., whose general partner is Information Partners, a Massachusetts General Partnership, and whose managing general partner is Bain Capital Partners IV, L.P., the sole general partner of which is Bain Capital Investors, Inc., a Delaware corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney; (iv) 287,028 shares of Common Stock held by BCIP Associates, a Delaware general partnership of which W. Mitt Romney is a general partner and member of the management committee; (v) 170,440 shares of Common Stock held by BCIP Trust Associates, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership of which W. Mitt Romney is a general partner and member of the management committee; and (vi)3,445,028 shares of non-voting Common Stock held by Bain Capital Partners V, L.P., whose sole general partner is Bain Capital Investors V, Inc., a Delaware corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.

The language used in these filings leaves no room for any ambiguity. For example, Bain Capital’s in-house hedge fund, Brookside, supplied the following language to companies in which it invested for their filings with the SEC: “Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brookside Inc. and thus is the controlling person of Brookside, Inc.” ...

In sum, the statement that Gov. Romney “left” Bain in February 1999—a statement central to your fact-check—is not accurate. Romney took an informal leave of absence but remained in full legal control of Bain and continued to be paid by Bain as such. Governor Romney would have the period of Bain service understood differently, for the obvious reason that there is much in this 1999-2002 period that he would prefer to avoid accountability for.

Several other fact-checkers reach the same conclusion. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the state of Massachusetts show that he still had ties to the company as late as 2002, and he continues to report income from the firm years after his departure, including more than $2 million in the past year, according to financial disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission.”

In 2007, the Washington Post reported the relevant facts: “R. Bradford Malt, one of Bain’s lawyers, who now manages Romney’s personal finances, said Romney took a leave of absence, “partly because of the speed it all happened and partly because it was a limited gig.” That meant Romney retained full, sole ownership of the firm for two more years as he worked on the Olympics.”

The facts are plain and clear: Romney maintained responsibility for his buyout firm’s actions—and the resulting consequences—at least through August of 2001. He continues to receive partnership profits from his firm’s actions even today.