In addition to Mitt’s squirrely story over his non work at Bain capital after 1999, two so-called fact checkers have been snared in the sticky web. Brooks Jackson at Annenberg’s FactCheck.org and the Post’s Glenn Kessler may have started out in good faith, but since then both have been engaging a lot less in fact checking and a lot more in what looks like covering their and Romney’s ass for a bad call early on. Robert Parry writing at the Consortium takes them down hard:
But FactCheck.org’s Jackson and the Post’s Kessler treat these transgressions with a “boys will be boys” casualness … Kessler wrote that he “concluded that much of the language saying Romney was ‘sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president’ was boilerplate that did not reveal whether he was actually managing Bain at the time.” Yet, whether “boilerplate” or not, the filings were false and/or misleading.
Kessler even adds that “there is no standard definition of a ‘chief executive,’ securities law experts say, and there is no requirement for anyone to have any responsibilities even if they have that title.” Oh, really? Here’s how Investopedia (a reference source that Kessler has cited in the past) defines a “chief executive officer”: “The highest ranking executive in a company whose main responsibilities include developing and implementing high-level strategies, making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company, and acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors and the corporate operations. The CEO will often have a position on the board, and in some cases is even the chair.”
To claim repeatedly over a period of more than two years that someone was the CEO – and thus the “controlling” person – if that were not true represents what many securities regulators would call a “material” deception.
The entire article is wonderful, an example of the power of good writing and solid inferences in new media, well worth reading all the way through. The author builds a rock solid case for his verdict: not only is Romney playing an evasive game, the premise his evasions are built on is unsound. Bain began doing and flat out did some of the most politically damaging things before Feb 1999. Romney’s “Not-It-cuz-I-was-gone-then” speil not only isn’t true, it would be meaningless if it were.
The fact is Romney-Bain used huge leverage to buy out companies and take out huge amounts of money for fees and insanely high dividends (The kind of mega-yeild no normal putz stock market investor will ever see), they downsized, outsourced and temped the workforce, then left the company holding the paper. In a number of cases the hollow-out company folded, creditors had to eat it, in others the government had to make good in one way or another. Over and over the laid off or underpaid workers came surging into the same social safety net Romney wants to whack so that his rich buddies can keep even more of their ill-gotten millions.
If Romney’s methods were unleashed on the US, he would borrow trillions, divert large chunks of the money to a tiny sliver of already super rich cronies, stick the rest of us taxpayers with the 100 year long bill, and walk away as the nation’s middle-class staggered under the new debt load — or collapsed and went bankrupt. Come to think of it, no wonder the Wall Street arm of the GOP loves him so much!