Problem solved

What did Mitt Romney list under “Your Occupation” on his tax returns for 2000, 2001, and 2002?

Mitt Romney now says he was spending full time running the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics when Bain Capital was doing all that nasty stuff after 1999, and that his title as Chief Executive Officer, as reported on numerous SEC filings, didn’t reflect any actual activity. Strangely, he’s gotten Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post to believe him. (This puts to one side the question whether, as sole shareholder in the enterprise that made his huge fortune, Romney had moral responsibility for the actions of the people he left in charge: you know, the way a President is responsible for the actions of his subordinates.)

Turns out there’s a fair way to resolve this question. Form 1040 has a line, right across from the signature line, for “Your Occupation.” Presumably through 1999 Romney would have listed his Bain Capital affiliation, and after 2002 he would have listed being Governor of Massachusetts. What went on that line for 2000, 2001, and 2002?

So if Mr. Romney will simply release his tax returns for those years, we can resolve the question and start arguing about something else. Fair enough?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

7 thoughts on “Problem solved”

  1. As you surely know, Mark, his official occupation during those years was CEO Of Bain. We know this because he used his continuing status as CEO of the Massachusetts-based vulture capitalist firm to prove that his temporary sojourn in Utah didn’t mean he’d stopped living in Massachusetts, and so he remained eligible to run for Governor in 2002.

    Doesn’t mean it will say this on his Federal tax forms, of course. But someplace there may well be legally binding declarations submitted to the Massachusetts Secretary Of State.

    1. Since the “Occupation” field on the tax return is a throwaway anyway, it carries no legal significance. OTOH, I like that “legally binding declarations” phrase. Gotta dig up summa those.

  2. I think it’s worth getting to the bottom of this, just because I don’t like it when public figures lie.

    But, in the big picture, this kind of thing strikes me as chickensh*t. Don’t we already know that what he did at Bain was rather questionable, ethically? So, if he did it a few more or less years, should I really care?

    1. The beauty of it is that CLEARLY, Romney doesn’t want to “own” the 1999-2002 period. It’s been suggested this is because of Stericycle. Now, I couldn’t care less about an investment in Stericycle. Doesn’t bother me. Other things about Bain concern me, but not that.

      But for some reason, Romney wouldn’t just stand up and say “I’m proud of what Bain did from 1999-2002. What’s your problem with it?”

      Once again, the man refuses to defend his own record. And for the most part, it’s not due to worrying about attacks from the Left. It’s because he’s terrified of what his own base would think.

    2. Mark would let him off the hook if his tax returns don’t say such and such…
      And NCG would let him off the hook for metaphysical reasons: this kind of thing strikes me as chickensh*t.

      I don’t let him off the hook ever.
      At the very least Romney profited from that which he now condemns. What does the bible say about that?
      He profited (was at the helm or had his feet on a first-class ottoman) off a company (with his name on it) that flushed human embryos down the drain.

      And all those fundamental Christians that vote for Romney are voting for someone who profited off of that.
      They need to know that. In fact, if the Dems had any teeth, any sense of out-roving Karl Rove they would carpet bomb the airwaves with baby killing ads that would make swift boats look like harmless yellow duckies.

      The idea is to win elections.
      The idea is to kneecap your opponent.
      The idea is to surpress right-wing Christian votes because of the depressing idea that they are voting for someone who profited off the destruction of embryos.

      Mao had it wrong: Political power doesn’t grow out of the barrel of a gun. It grows out of ruthlessly defining your opponent.
      They’ve made my guy into a Socialist Kenyan who didn’t even write his own biography. Put me in charge of a PAC and I’ll make, with glee, a moneyed baby killer out of Romney.

  3. My own guess is that Romney did have some hand in Bain while he was in Salt lake City. Olympics or not, it’s hard to believe he wasn’t having some conversations with the Bain folks about deals, even though he wasn’t involved in day-to-day operations.

    I’m a little nervous about overplaying the “He lied in the filings,” idea. I think some focus should be on Bain’s activities but the real target is the tax and overseas investment situation. It seems impossible to me that there’s not something there that Romney wants badly to hide. Otherwise he releases the returns, takes a day or two of heat for being a rich guy with overseas accounts while pointing out that he did nothing illegal or sleazy, and lets the story die.

Comments are closed.