Maryann Tobin

If your name is on the company letterhead as the owner and you collect money from business deals, that usually means you are involved in an organization. Such is the case with Mitt Romney and Bain Capital as recently as 2002.

However, Romney is trying to distance himself from Bain Capital after 1999, despite that fact that the paperwork says otherwise. That’s because Bain Capital was responsible for shipping American jobs to China and India in the name of Bain investor profits. This goes against the main selling point of the Romney campaign and has the potential to cost votes with people who have lost their jobs to outsourcing.

“Romney has tried to distance himself from this period in Bain's history, saying on financial disclosure forms he had no active role in Bain as of February 1999,” according to the Detroit Free Press. “But at least three times since then, Bain listed Romney as the company's 'controlling person,' as well as its 'sole shareholder, sole director, chief executive officer and president.' And one of those documents — as late as February 2001 — lists Romney's 'principal occupation' as Bain's managing director.”

The Obama Administration is calling Romney’s denial of his involvement with Bain Capital past 1999 the “Bain lie,” because the Securities and Exchange Commission showed Romney listed as chief executive, president, and owner of Bain Capital until 2002. Romney does not deny that on paper he was legally in charge, but does deny responsible for Bain job outsourcing after 1999. Critics say the two cannot be separated and Romney’s claims raise both ethical and legal questions.

Obama campaign staffer Stephanie Cutter said in a press conference on Thursday, “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the S.E.C., which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people.”

Just how much money Romney made from Bain Capital would be clearer if Mr. Romney released his tax returns for the years in question. However, he has so far refused to release any tax returns, apart from one for 2011, which is unusual for a presidential candidate.

Former President Bill Clinton told the "Today Show" on Friday, "It's typical, I think — we all release 10 or 11 years…I am a little surprised that he only released a year's worth of tax returns. ... That's kind of perplexed me."

By not releasing his tax returns as other candidates have, Mitt Romney runs the risk of suggesting that he has something to hide from voters.

Keeping secrets from the public is not a trait most voters views as a positive character trait in a president – especially when it comes to income from outsourcing American jobs.

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