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Panorama, Italy

Mitt Romney and the
Bain Capital Affair

By Michele Zurleni

President Obama's propaganda machine points the finger at the relationship between the former governor of Massachusetts and Bain Capital, the private company that he founded.

Translated By Francesca Baldanzi

16 July 2012

OPD 7/16 Edited by Jonathan Dou­glas (proof­ing TP 7/25)

Italy - Panorama - Original Article (Italian)

President Obama's propaganda machine points the finger at the relationship between the former governor of Massachusetts and Bain Capital, the private company that he founded.

It’s not as strong as a tornado, but the Bain Capital affair blows on the White House campaign as frequently as thunder accompanies a storm. The (assumed) mystery of the relationship between Mitt Romney and the private venture that he founded has become the talking point of Barack Obama's staff to prove that the Republican candidate is unreliable and as shrewd in business as in politics.

So far, the former governor of Massachusetts has taken a defensive position, except when he decided to counterattack. He accused the president of diverting voters' attention from the real problem plaguing America (and one that Obama has failed to solve): unemployment.

It is certain that the recurring topic, which came out a few days ago in an article in the Boston Globe, is doomed to go on. This will force Mitt Romney to exert all his efforts clarifying the news, especially the comments appearing in the media every day.

The main issue is this: How long has Mitt Romney had a role in Bain Capital? Was it until 1999, as he stated on several occasions? Or was it until at least 2002, as assumed by the Boston newspapers?

The topic may seem secondary. Actually, the fact has always remained that the company's business is dedicated to purchasing and renovating other companies, which has entailed job losses in some cases.

However, even if it were true that his involvement goes beyond 1999, there is no evidence that Romney had a conflict of interests when he left Massachusetts to go to Utah to organize the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, just as there is no evidence that this happened when he began the race for governor back in his state.

Despite this, controversy remains. Barack Obama's staff have submitted eight questions to the Republican candidate, including why he continued receiving over $100,000 each year from the company in the 2000-2001 period, as reported by the Boston Globe.

In reality, this amount would have been given to Mitt Romney as Bain Capital's former founder. According to The New York Times, Mitt Romney still appears as the fund owner on the organization’s documents until 2002 (for legal reasons), but he would have had nothing to do with the day-to-day management of the company, which the new management was in charge of.

In 2002, according to The New York Times, an agreement on Romney's final exit had been signed, which also included giving up the passive role he had had in the previous three years in exchange for a kind of annual dividend for the next 10 years, that is, until 2012.

Could this news start a new controversy? Yes, probably. It would force Mitt Romney to keep taking a defensive position, and it would give Barack Obama's staff a new boost to fuel the controversy. Indeed, this could overshadow all the other campaign issues, including the economic situation in the U.S.



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