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Account of Romney’s Bain departure has evolved

President Obama's reelection campaign accused Mitt Romney of lying - and perhaps of breaking federal law - after the Globe reported that government documents listed him as in charge of the private equity firm he founded, Bain Capital, three years longer than he has previously stated. Growing evidence mounts of Mitt Romney's continuing ties to Bain after 1999.

July 13, 2012
In an interview with CNN, Mitt Romney contests reports he left Bain Capital three years later than he has stated.
Mitt Romney in an interview with CNN
"There's nothing wrong with being associated with Bain Capital, of course. But the truth is that I left any role at Bain Capital in February of 1999." Regarding the felony suggestion coming from the Obama campaign, Romney responded: "Is this the level that the Obama campaign is willing to stoop to? Is this up to the standards expected of the presidency of the United States? It's disgusting, it's demeaning, it's something which I think the president should take responsibility for and stop."
July 12, 2012
Globe reports that government documents listed Romney as in charge of Bain Capital, the equity firm he founded, three years longer than he stated.
Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager
"When Mitt Romney ran for governor and now as he's running for president, he consistently claimed he could not be blamed for bankruptcies and layoffs from Bain investments after February 1999 because he departed for the Olympics. Now we know he wasn't telling the truth." Romney was either "misrepresenting his own position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people."
Matt Rhoades, Romney's campaign manager
"President Obama's campaign hit a new low today when one of its senior advisers made a reckless and unsubstantiated charge to reporters about Mitt Romney that was so over-the-top that it calls into question the integrity of their entire campaign. President Obama ought to apologize for the out-of-control behavior of his staff, which demeans the office he holds."
Bain Capital
"Due to the sudden nature of Mr. Romney's departure, he remained the sole stockholder for a time while formal ownership was being documented and transferred to the group of partners who took over management of the firm in 1999. Accordingly, Mr. Romney was reported in various capacities on SEC filings during this period."
Adam C. Pritchard, professor of securities law at the University of Michigan
Pritchard described filings disclosing Bain dealings investments as "ministerial." "The only way someone would be misled is if they were an investor in" Bain, he said. It would be a different matter in a publicly traded firm, he added: "If Apple were listing Steve Jobs as CEO, that would be a problem, him being dead and all."
Roberta S. Karmel, former SEC commissioner

"It's a pretty serious problem to file false documents with the SEC. You can be prosecuted for that."

"It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to say he was technically in charge on paper but he had nothing to do with Bain's operations. Was he getting paid? He's the sole stockholder. Are you telling me he owned the company but had no say in its investments?"

"If someone invested with Bain Capital because they believed Mitt Romney was a great fund manager, and it turns out he wasn't really doing anything, that could be considered a misrepresentation to the investor. It's a theory that could be used in a lawsuit against him."

July 11, 2012
Bain Capital supports Mitt Romney's position.
Bain Capital
"Mitt Romney retired from Bain Capital in February 1999. He has had no involvement in the management or investment activities of Bain Capital, or with any of its portfolio companies, since that time."
June 1, 2012
Mitt Romney's financial disclosure form
"Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way."
June 17, 2002
Facing a ballot challenge from Democrats — who contended he had moved his residence to Utah — Romney testifies before the state Ballot Law Commission as a gubernatorial candidate.
Mitt Romney's testimony
"There were a number of social trips and business trips that brought [him] back to Massachusetts, board meetings” while he was running the Olympics."When I left my employer in Massachusetts in February of 1999 to accept the Olympic assignment, I left on the basis of a leave of absence, indicating that I, by virtue of that title, would return at the end of the Olympics to my employment at Bain Capital, but subsequently decided not to do so and entered into a departure agreement with my former partners." He added that he remained on the boards of several companies, including the Lifelike Co., in which Bain Capital held a stake until 2001.
February 12, 1999
On the day after Romney took over the winter Olympics, the Boston Herald quotes Romney saying "he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions."
Mitt Romney quoted by Boston Herald
Asked why he decided to leave his post at the helm of Boston venture capital firm Bain Capital Inc., Romney replied: "My son Josh asked that same question . . . I think I'm either blessed or cursed with an overactive public service gland. Now and then it compels me to do things that don't make sense on an accounting basis." Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions. But he will leave running day-to-day operations to Bain's executive committee.

Monica Ulmanu/Globe Staff and CALLUM BORCHERS/Globe Correspondent

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