Just when did Romney leave Bain? Report on medical waste firm raises fresh questions

Updated
By Zaid A. Jilani

Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney, invested in a medical waste firm called Stericycle that was involved in disposing of aborted fetuses, according to a report today by Mother Jones. And documents from the time described Romney as an active participant in the deal.

Bain’s involvement with the Stericycle was first reported earlier this year by the Huffington Post. At the time, the Romney campaign deflected the story by claiming that the candidate had left Bain in February 1999 before the deal went down.

But the S.E.C. documents unearthed by Mother Jones’s David Corn raise questions about that explanation. They date from November 1999, and say Romney ”may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to” the shares in Stericycle. As Corn wrote, the documents suggest ”Romney still played a role in Bain investments until at least the end of 1999.” 

As Corn noted on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell Monday, the report’s implications go beyond the Stericycle issue. That’s because on several occasions, Romney has claimed he has no responsibility for actions taken by Bain after he left the company, giving that February 1999 date as his date of departure. So the documents raise questions about just when Romney stopped playing an active role in Bain’s decisions.

“Time and time, again stories come up about Bain deals … and the campaign or Bain’s response is that Romney had left the company at that point in time, thereby trying to absolve them of deals that would look bad for a political candidate,” Corn told O’Donnell. “So there’s a whole little wishy-washy mystery here as to what Romney was doing at Bain after he supposedly left.” 

Of course, as O’Donnell noted, much of this could be resolved if Romney would just release his full tax returns—something he’s so far declined to do.

O’Donnell also played assignment editor, raising another interesting avenue for inquiry. “Can you find out how much Stericycle is making from Romneycare in Massachussetts?” he asked Corn. 

Could be worth looking into…

Reproductive Rights and Mitt Romney

Just when did Romney leave Bain? Report on medical waste firm raises fresh questions

Updated