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“Caught In Another Lie”: Mitt Romney Invested In Medical Waste Firm That Disposed Of Aborted Fetuses

Mitt Romney’s Bain problem just got a lot worse.

According to a new report by Mother Jones’ David Corn, Bain Capital made a $75 million investment in Stericycle — a medical waste disposal firm that has been attacked by right wing groups for disposing of aborted fetuses — while Romney was still actively involved in the company in 1999. This news is sure to upset social conservatives, and it also directly contradicts Romney’s account of when he left Bain.

Romney’s connection to Stericycle was first reported in January by The Huffington Post, but the story never gained traction because Bain Capital claimed that Romney left the firm to run the Winter Olympics in February of 1999 — meaning that he had nothing to do with the deal. According to SEC documents unearthed by Corn, however, Romney was still actively involved in the firm’s leadership through the end of that year:

The SEC filing lists assorted Bain-related entities that were part of the deal, including Bain Capital (BCI), Bain Capital Partners VI (BCP VI), Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors (a Bermuda-based Bain affiliate), and Brookside Capital Investors (a Bain offshoot). And it notes that Romney was the “sole shareholder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of BCI, BCP VI Inc., Brookside Inc. and Sankaty Ltd.”

The document also states that Romney “may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to” 2,116,588 shares of common stock in Stericycle “in his capacity as sole shareholder” of the Bain entities that invested in the company. That was about 11 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock. (The whole $75 million investment won Bain, Romney, and their partners 22.64 percent of the firm’s stock—the largest bloc among the firm’s owners.) The original copy of the filing was signed by Romney.

Another SEC document filed November 30, 1999, by Stericycle also names Romney as an individual who holds “voting and dispositive power” with respect to the stock owned by Bain. If Romney had fully retired from the private equity firm he founded, why would he be the only Bain executive named as the person in control of this large amount of Stericycle stock?

As Corn points out, the SEC documents have implications that reach farther than Stericycle. The Romney campaign repeated its assertion that Romney left Bain in February 1999 when rebutting a recent Washington Post story reporting that Bain acquired companies that outsourced jobs. According to these SEC filings, that is not true.

The issue here is not that Romney was investing with a company that disposed of aborted fetuses; after all, abortion is legal, something must be done with the medical waste produced by them, and according to Corn the investment was quite profitable for Bain and its investors.

The issue is that Romney has once again been caught in a lie about his past, and once again he has given voters a reason to be suspicious over his record at Bain — which he’s used as the central thesis of his campaign.

Romney is already having a difficult time talking about his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, given that he is now running against the signature achievement of his term. If voters reject his version of the Bain Capital story as well, then it is hard to see what his campaign’s message could be moving forward.

 

By: Henry Decker, The National Memo, July 2, 2012

July 3, 2012 Posted by | Abortion, Election 2012 | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire”: Mitt Romney’s Bain Timeline Doesn’t Add Up

It turns out that the implications of David Corn’s explosive scoop about how Mitt Romney misrepresentedhis role in Bain’s investment in a medical-waste firm that disposed of aborted fetuses goes far beyond that specific investment. The short version of that story is that while Romney claimed publicly to have had no role in the investment because it took place after he started working on the Salt Lake Olympics, he actually had an active role in the investment, according to legal documents obtained by Corn.

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and as Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald points out, if Romney lied about that investment, then he also appears to have lied in his official financial disclosure forms filed with the government.

Twice, first in 2007 during his earlier presidential bid and again this year, Romney filed personal disclosure forms with the Office of Government Ethics which explicitly state that Romney left Bain in early 1999. “Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. 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,” his ethics filings from June state.

But as Corn’s report details, that timeline doesn’t add up. Romney personally signed documents after February of 1999 related to the human-waste disposal deal and SEC documents also indicate he was a key investor in the deal. Moreover, according to contemporaneous public reports from Bain and the Boston Herald, Romney did not sever all ties or management responsibilities when he assumed his job running the winter Olympics.

Bottom line: Romney’s story doesn’t compute, and given that the credibility of all the defenses he makes to Bain criticism depend on whether or not you take his word, he’s got a real problem developing—if the media is paying attention.

 

By: Jed Lewison, Daily Kos, July 2, 2012

July 3, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Tying Themselves Into Knots”: Romney Adviser Contradicts A GOP Talking Point

Some Republicans knew that nominating a governor who had signed a healthcare reform law with an individual insurance mandate would be a problem. It would muddy their anti-Obamacare message, they warned, even if Mitt Romney could claim that he supports mandates only at the state level. Well, their fears were well-founded.

Consider the gaffe made by Eric Fehrnstrom, a top Romney campaign adviser, on MSNBC Monday morning. As I reported on Sunday night, Republicans and conservatives have tried to make the best of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act by saying that if it is justified under Congress’s taxing power, then it must be a tax increase, and a massive one at that.

But Romney, who signed a law that, just like the ACA, imposes a penalty on individuals who don’t buy insurance, does not like to admit that he raised taxes. (That’s why, as governor of Massachusetts, he mostly sought to increase revenue through new and higher user fees, including preposterously cruel ones, such as imposing a $10 fee for a certificate of blindness.)

These conflicting lines got crossed when Ferhnstrom said, “The governor disagreed with the ruling of the Court, he agreed with the dissent that was written by Justice Scalia, that very clearly said that the mandate was not a tax. The governor believes what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty and he disagrees with the Court’s ruling that the mandate was a tax.” This flies in the face of claims by Congressional Republicans and conservative talking heads such as Rush Limbaugh, who say that the ACA is a tax. Fehrnstrom is also contradicting his own candidate who admitted back in 2008 that the penalty for not buying insurance in Massachusetts is a kind of tax.

But Congressional Republican aides tell the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent that they can continue to make this argument even as the Romney campaign says the opposite. He writes:

You’d think the fact that the GOP presidential nominee’s campaign has now confirmed that Obamacare’s mandate is not a tax would undercut the use of this talking point by GOP Congressional officials, right?

You’d be wrong. One senior Congressional aide tells me that Republicans will continue to describe it in those terms. And a second senior GOP Congressional aide emails that there is no contradiction here.…

The Romney campaign and Republican Congressional officials alike both agree with Scalia’s argument that the mandate is not a tax in the sense that claiming it is a tax makes it Constitutional, even as Republican officials continue to argue that the mandate is a tax in the sense that SCOTUS said it was in the course of upholding the law.

It’s a clever argument, and a sort of technically consistent. But, as Sargent’s Post colleague Rachel Weiner points out, “That line of attack is more easily maintained by Republicans who never imposed any such mandate.” It’s irritating to see the GOP paying so little political penalty for their complete flip-flop on the individual mandate, but it’s satisfying to see that by nominating Romney they will at least tie themselves into knots over it.

 

By: Ben Adler, The Nation, July 2, 2012

July 3, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Less Than Forthcoming”: Clarence Thomas’s Wife Continued To Lobby Against Healthcare In 2011

Last week, a meme made its way around the Internet asking why Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was planning to rule on the healthcare law when his wife, a conservative lobbyist, has made so much money challenging the law.

Now, just days after healthcare law was upheld (with Clarence Thomas dissenting), new financial forms show that Thomas’s wife, Ginni, continued to rake in a profit from opposing healthcare reforms in 2011—even after she previously came under fire for doing so.

According to Thomas’s 2011 financial disclosure report form, filed on May 15 and obtained Friday by Whispers, Ginni Thomas made up to $15,000 working for political lobbying firm Liberty Consulting. The firm lobbied actively against the healthcare law, according to liberal news magazine Mother Jones.

Ginni formed Liberty Consulting after she was criticized for her work at Liberty Central, a non-profit tea party organization that also lobbied against the health care law.

In March of this year, Liberty Central was the subject of a letter sent to the IRS by Common Cause, a nonprofit that works for government accountability. The letter argued that Liberty Central violated the proportionality rule for non-profits because the majority of its activities were designed to help Republican candidates.

Ginni later stepped down from Liberty Central, but her involvement in conservative politics extends beyond these two groups. Among Ginni’s former employers is the Heritage Foundation, another vocal critic of the healthcare law. She also currently works as a “special correspondent” for the conservative website The Daily Caller.

In January 2011, Justice Thomas “inadvertently” left out information about his wife’s employment, including earnings over the past 13 years that added up to as much as $1.6 million.

Thomas himself has also been criticized for his links to the Republican party, most notably in a October 2010 New York Times story about a Republican donors event bankrolled by the conservative Koch brothers, which listed the Supreme Court justice as an attendee.

As a result of these “questions of candor, accountability, and ethics,” a new Change.org petiton, started by Garrett Troy, a recent graduate of the University of Washington, is calling for Thomas to resign. A similar petition created earlier on CredoAction.com has nearly 225,000 signatures.

“You have been less-than-forthcoming on matters concerning household fiduciary interests,” states the petition. “Justice Thomas, do you think you belong here?”

A request for comment from the Thomas’s office was not immediately returned.

 

By: Elizabeth Flock, Washington Whispers, U. S. and World Report, July 2, 2012

July 3, 2012 Posted by | Health Reform | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Failures Of Spin”: Republicans Really Don’t Give A Crap About The Uninsured

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell is ordinarily a spinner of unusual skill. He’s relentlessly focused on his message and doesn’t let any interviewer frame a question in a way he (McConnell) doesn’t like. Which is why it was a little odd to see Fox News’ Chris Wallace catch him without a handy talking point when it came to covering the uninsured. This excerpt is a little long, but you have to see the whole thing:

WALLACE: All right, let’s move on. If voters elect a Republican president and a Republican Senate, your top priority will be, you say, to repeal and replace “Obama-care.” And I want to drill down into that with you. One of the keys to “Obama-care” is that it will extend insurance access to 30 million people who are now uninsured. In your replacement, how would you provide universal coverage?

MCCONNELL: Well, first, let me say the single the best thing we could do for the American health care system is to get rid of “Obama- care,” get rid of that half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts, get rid of the half a trillion dollars in taxes. In other words, the single biggest step we could take in the direction of improving American health care is to get rid of this monstrosity.

WALLACE: But if I may, sir, you’ve talked about repeal and replace. How would you provide universal coverage?

MCCONNELL: I will get to it in a minute. The first step we need to take is to get rid of what is there, this job-killing proposal that has all of these cuts to existing health care providers. Secondly, we need to go step by step to replace it with more modest reforms. There will not be a 2,700-page Republican alternative. We will not take a meat axe to the American health care system. We will pull out a scalpel and go step by step and make the kinds of more modest changes that would deal with the principal issue which is cost. Things like interstate sales of health insurance. Right now you don’t have competition around the country in the selling of health insurance. That is a mistake. Things like lawsuit reform. Billions and billions of dollars are lost every year by hospitals and doctors in defensive medicine. Those kinds of steps…

WALLACE: But respectfully sir, because we are going to run out of time and I just want to ask, what specifically are you going to do to provide universal coverage to the 30 million people who are uninsured?

MCCONNELL: That is not the issue. The question is, how can you go step by step to improve the American health care system? It is already the finest health care system in the world.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: But you don’t think the 30 million…

MCCONNELL: What our friends on the other…

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: You don’t think the 30 million people that were uninsured is an issue?

MCCONNELL: Let me tell you what we are not going to do. We are not going to turn the American health care system into a Western European system. That is exactly what is at the heart of “Obama- care.” They want to have the federal government take over all of American health care.

And there you have it. Obviously, McConnell can’t come out and speak the truth, which is that while there are a few changes Republicans would like to see on health care, not only isn’t it an issue they care very much about, they really don’t give a crap about people who don’t have insurance. Never have, and probably never will. First of all, those just aren’t their people, and second of all, actually helping the uninsured requires things they don’t like, such as expanding Medicaid.

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing they can say. McConnell ought to know that when asked questions like this, Republicans are supposed to say, “The way you expand coverage to everyone is to increase competition and unleash the free market, not through big government blah blah blah.” That way it looks like you’ve actually responded to the question, even though you haven’t actually said anything. The great thing about conservative talking points is that they can be used almost anywhere, no matter how empty they are. McConnell is seriously off his game.

I stand by my prediction that Republicans are going to stop talking about health care within a few days. They just don’t feel comfortable with the topic.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Contributing Editor, The American Prospect, July 2, 2012

July 3, 2012 Posted by | Health Care | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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