This much is clear. The world of casino capitalism, within which Bain Capital is just one player, is a secretive place. Private equity operates under complicated and murky rules. It’s sometimes an ugly beast that feeds on hostile takeovers, tax avoidance schemes and risking other people’s money. It may well be that Mitt Romney’s SEC filings as Bain’s Chairman, CEO and sole shareholder were merely required legal technicalities while Romney negotiated an extremely generous severance package over the course of several years. They don’t unequivocally prove involvement standing on their own.
However several Bain insiders have described Romney’s active involvement in meetings and other business matters of the corporation. And more troubling is Romney’s own inconsistent explanations of his role:
Even Romney’s explanation of his role at Bain after 1999 appears to have shifted in recent years, as shown in notes that his financial trustee provided in successive presidential candidate financial reports submitted in 2007 and in 2011 to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. The lawyer administering Romney’s finances, R. Bradford Malt, said in 2007 that Romney did not have “any active role with any Bain Capital entity” after 1999. In 2011, that explanation broadened, saying Romney had also “not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way.”
That is very clearly not true.
Of course, all these questions could be easily resolved if Mr. Romney would simply release some documentation of his business activities. Sadly, both Mr. Romney and Bain Capital refuse to do so. It appears Mitt Romney prefers to keep everything about his business conduct a deep dark secret.
So my question remains open. What is Mitt Romney hiding?