WASHINGTON -- Add another document to the pile of evidence contradicting Mitt Romney's continued insistence that he ended his active role with Bain Capital in early 1999, part of his long-running effort to avoid responsibility for the company's activity, related to outsourcing and bankruptcies, during the years that followed.
A corporate document filed with the state of Massachusetts in December 2002 -- a month after Romney was elected governor -- lists him as one of two managing members of Bain Capital Investors, LLC "authorized to execute, acknowledge, deliver and record any recordable instrument purporting to affect an interest in real property, whether to be recorded with a Registry of Deeds or with a District Office of the Land Court."
In August 2011, Romney told federal authorities, as part of the financial disclosure process, that he "retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee [for the 2002 Winter Olympics]. 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."
Bain Capital Investors is a Bain Capital entity.
Previously reported evidence shows that Romney was listed as the CEO, chairman and president of the company after 1999 in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission; took a six-figure salary; signed corporate documents related to major and minor deals and attended board meetings for at least two Bain-affiliated companies. The state document was filed two and a half years after Romney now says he retired from the company, demonstrating his deep and ongoing connection to the firm.
The mountain of evidence that Romney had a connection to the firm after 1999 leaves him with two possible explanations, neither of them political appealing: Either Romney was officially in charge of the company but took no actual responsibility for it, or he was involved then and is either lying or shading the truth now.
The latter has its obvious drawbacks, and the former doesn't paint Romney as a portrait of stand-up leadership. President Barack Obama over the weekend seized on Romney's attempt to shed responsibility for the company he officially ran, arguing that a U.S. president doesn't have the luxury of picking and choosing when he's responsible for what happens on his watch.
"Ultimately, I think, Mr. Romney is going to have to answer those questions because if he aspires to being president, one of the things you learn is you're ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations," Obama said in an interview with the District of Columbia's WJLA-TV.
It's a line of attack Obama employed with deftness against his Republican opponent in 2008, when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) suspended his presidential campaign to address the financial meltdown.
"Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time," Obama said then, rejecting McCain's request to postpone debates. "It’s not necessary for us to think that we can do only one thing, and suspend everything else."
On Friday evening, Romney responded to the barrage of Bain reporting and attacks by the Obama camp by scheduling a raft of interviews with major media outlets, during which he repeated his claim that he had had nothing to do with Bain after 1999.