One of the worst things that can happen to a politician burdened by a controversy is generally captured by a sound: drip, drip, drip. Instead of making a full disclosure from the outset, the politician allows revelations to come slowly, one at a time, dragging out the issue while creating a longer series of damaging headlines.
When it comes to Mitt Romney and his Bain Capital, the drips just keep coming.
Back in 2002 when he was running for Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney and his aides had no problem admitting he retained his position as CEO of Bain Capital after 1999. Press articles from the time describe how Mr. Romney was on a "leave of absence" after 1999 and had not fully cut ties with the private equity firm. [...]Mr. Romney being on a "leave of absence" would explain the discrepancy and it doesn't mean he played any role in managing the company, however, according to at least one former Bain Capital executive, during a prior leave of absence, Mr. Romney still remained in a very active role with the company.
In 2002, a Boston Globe article quoted a former Bain Capital executive named Marc B. Wolpow who said Mr. Romney remained in a very active role at Bain Capital while he was supposedly on a leave of absence for his Senate race. Wolpow specifically said of Romney's role, "I reported directly to Mitt Romney.... You can't be CEO of Bain Capital and say, 'I really don't know what my guys were doing,'"
Daily Kos' Jed Lewison, meanwhile, highlights a Bain press release from July 1999 -- several months after Romney claims to have given up his role at the firm -- that describes Romney as being on "a part-time leave of absence" to work on the Olympics. What's more, Dave Weigel notes Bain materials that said Romney would continue to have "input on investment and key personnel decisions" after his alleged departure.
Making matters slightly worse, the Huffington Post has a report this afternoon, noting a federal disclosure form Romney filed in August 2011 that said Romney, after February 1999, "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." The article added, "That is false."
And making matters worse still, BuzzFeed has published a 2000 document, uncovered by our pal James Carter, that identifies Romney as being "principally engaged in the business of serving as sole stockholder of BCI VI, Inc. (Bain Capital Investors VI)" -- materials signed by Romney that clearly contradict other disclosure forms filed with the FEC. (Update: By "other disclosure forms filed with the FEC," I mean materials like these.)
The challenge, then, becomes figuring out which entity Romney was lying to: the SEC, the FEC, voters, or some combination thereof? Given the contradictions, and the fact that Romney's version of events clearly don't add up, his stories can't all be truthful.
Romney still has his defenders -- most notably the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, whose defense strains credulity -- but the Republican's story appears to be unraveling quickly.