Was Romney's blighted spell at Bain three years longer than he admits?

 

Washington

Mitt Romney wants the election to be about the under-performing US economy. Alas however, the main topic on the campaign trail this week has been his business affairs, and yesterday brought more trouble: charges that he stayed on as head of Bain Capital, the private equity group where he made his fortune, for three years beyond his claimed departure date.

The allegations came in yesterday's Boston Globe, which cited documents, including regulatory filings, suggesting that the Republican presidential challenger did not leave the company in 1999 has he has maintained, but remained as chairman and chief executive until 2002, the year he was elected governor of Massachusetts.

The Romney campaign hit back immediately, labelling the Globe report "inaccurate," and insisting that the candidate had "no input on investments or management of [Bain] companies" after 1999. That had been confirmed "multiple times by independent fact-checkers," a Romney spokeswoman said.

True or false however, the claim is bad news for Mr Romney. Not only does it turn attention once more to his times at Bain, which the Obama campaign has turned into an emblem of ruthless vulture capitalism, buying and selling struggling companies for its own gain. It also compounds the murkiness surrounding the candidate's financial affairs, and the lack of detail about his wealth, that includes substantial offshore assets.

Polls show that despite the fuss, Mr Romney is still running more or less level with Barack Obama, less than four months before election day. Even so, the episode feeds into what many Republicans – and not just conservatives still unconvinced by Mr Romney – see as a broader problem for his campaign: that he is allowing himself to be defined by his opponent, rather than aggressively hitting back at President Obama.

For the last week, the headlines have been not about dismal new US unemployment data, but Obama campaign accusations that during his years at Bain Romney was complicit in outsourcing American jobs, that he pays too little in tax, and that he hides his money in places such as the Cayman Islands.

"There is still more about this period and beyond that he doesn't want people to know," said Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for Mr Obama, after the Globe story was published. "It's time for Mitt Romney to come clean, so that the American people can make their own judgements about his record and his motivations."

After his rough ride on Wednesday at the NAACP meeting in Houston, when he was lustily booed on occasion by members of the venerable civil rights organisation, Mr Romney was on friendlier terrain yesterday as he attended an exclusive fundraiser hosted by Dick Cheney at the former Vice-President's home in Wyoming.

On the campaign trail, Mr Romney tends to avoid reference to the last Republican White House, fully aware that neither Mr Cheney, nor his boss, George W Bush, are well favoured among the independent and swing voters he seeks to win over. But for the Republican faithful (and many rich donors) Mr Cheney remains extremely popular.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower