Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter laid out the issue as the Obama team sees it: “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony."Over at Foxnews.com, the story's not about the SEC, Bain Capital, or Mitt Romney's honesty, it's about what each campaign said about the other:
"Or," she said, "he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments,” including layoffs and the outsourcing of jobs.
The battle between President Obama and Mitt Romney reached new levels of rancor Thursday, with each campaign accusing the other of lying over Romney's tenure at private-equity firm Bain Capital.Now, that's good, unbiased reporting. Don't spend much (if any) time ascertaining what's true. Just let each side tell its own story and you've done your job.
The charges flew at a rapid pace, and by the end of the day the Romney campaign was demanding an apology after a senior Obama campaign official said the Republican presidential candidate may have committed a felony.
But which side is telling the truth?
Let's go back to the original reporting. The story that triggered this was published at the Boston Globe. Here's how it begins:
Government documents filed by Mitt Romney and Bain Capital say Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he said he ceded control, even creating five new investment partnerships during that time.Why is this a big deal? The Globe gives an answer:
Romney has said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role in the company. But public Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed later by Bain Capital state he remained the firm’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.”
Also, a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney’s state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.
The timing of Romney’s departure from Bain is a key point of contention because he has said his resignation in February 1999 meant he was not responsible for Bain Capital companies that went bankrupt or laid off workers after that date.Whether he was in on any decision is beside the point. His name is on the SEC filings. The company was his. He is responsible for all the decisions Bain Capital made.
So he either lied to the SEC or he's lying to you now.