How Our "Fact Checkers" Adopted Wall Street's Corrupt Definition of "Responsibility"

Fact: If you are President, CEO, Chairman and 100% owner of a company, collecting six figure salaries, it is not possible for you have "no responsibility" for the decisions it makes. Something about the buck stopping somewhere.

Yet, incredibly, the Washington Post's resident "Fact Checker" Glenn Kessler and a few other independent "fact checkers" continue to base their analyses of questions raised by Bain's SEC filings showing Mitt Romney as the key officer in charge on exactly the contrary. Kessler even based his article defending his water-carrying for Mitt Romney based on the absurd notion that one may be sole owner of a company, its CEO and Chairman, and be absolved from all responsibility thanks to a "retroactive retirement."

For Kessler, those damning facts are pretty much irrelevant. Worse, he thinks that the belief that the notion that such a key officer bear any responsibility for a firm's actions is, in fact, nothing more than an opinion.
The question is not whether Romney left Bain in 1999 or 2002 ... but whether he had a direct role in Bain deals during this period.

For some readers, this may not be important. He is listed as chief executive in SEC documents, he hired the people at Bain, and so they might believe he bears responsibility for these deals. End of story. But that’s really an opinion, not a fact.
See? It's not a fact! That responsibility for a company's actions ultimate rests on the shoulder of its Chief Executive and sole owner is not a fact! Maybe next time, Glenn Kessler will claim that he had nothing to do with writing this swill despite the fact that it bears his name as author.

What planet do these people live on? In what world are you not responsible for a business you not only wholly own but certify to the government that you are the President, CEO and Managing Director of? Apparently, planet Wall Street.
I consulted with securities law experts who have many years of experience with these particular SEC filings. One expert pointed out that the titles are basically meaningless, that someone can be listed as a chief executive and have no responsibilities whatsoever.
Perhaps our "fact checker" should have read the SEC filings closely. Here's a quote from the filings for 2001, for example.
Bain Capital Partners VI, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership ("Bain Partners VI") is the sole general partner of Fund VI and Coinvestment Fund. Bain Capital Investors VI, Inc., a Delaware corporation ("Bain Investors VI"), is the sole general partner of Bain Partners VI. Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Investors VI and thus is the controlling person of Bain Investors VI. The executive officers of Bain Investors VI are set forth on Schedule A hereto.

Bain Capital, Inc., a Delaware corporation ("Bain Capital"), is the sole managing partner of the BCIP entities. Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital and thus is the controlling person of Bain Capital. The executive officers of Bain Capital are set forth on Schedule B hereto.

Brookside Capital Investors, L.P., a Delaware general partnership ("Brookside Investors LP") is the sole general partner of Brookside. Brookside Capital Investors, Inc., a Delaware Corporation ("Brookside Investors Inc.") is the sole general partner of Brookside Investors LP. Mr. W. Mitt Romney is thesole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Brookside Investors Inc. and thus is the controlling person of Brookside Investors Inc.

Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company ("Sankaty LLC") is the sole general partner of Sankaty. Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors, Ltd., a Bermuda company ("Sankaty Ltd.") is the managing member of Sankaty LLC. Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, a director and President of Sankaty Ltd. and thus is the controlling person of Sankaty, Ltd.
So Mitt Romney wasn't just top office holder in each company and each of their sole shareholder, he was the controlling person. I assume that Kessler also asked a lot of SEC legal experts who told him that being the controlling person at a financial firm is no guarantee that this controlling person had any actual control.

And that might be what is confusing our dear "fact checkers." After all, if it is legally possible to be listed as a CEO and have "no responsibilities whatsoever," there is no discrepancy in Romney's story, right? The only problem with that is that the financial industry - and seemingly "fact checkers" like Kessler - is so far removed from most Americans' notion of responsibility that they confuse legal behind-saving with the public's notion of accountability.

I don't think anyone disputes the fact that the financial industry and big business, for its benefit, prepare their legal documents to be as bereft of accountability for their officers as possible. But the fact that seems to escape our esteemed "fact checkers" is that when it comes to electing our leaders, responsibility and accountability are not mere terms of legal papers but of character.

That is why President Obama's attacks are so effective. Here is another fact for our beloved "fact checker:" This is in fact not about whether Mitt Romney personally handed out pink slips and personally counted up the cash to pay outsourcing firms. This is about character and integrity.

Character matters when you are running for president of the United States. The American people want to know if Mitt Romney has the character to take responsibility for things that literally has his name and his signature on it, rather than to find plausible deniabilty and run from them. The American people want to know that a candidate for the highest office in the land has the integrity to at least say whether or not he, as the sole owner and "controlling person," believes what his company did was right or wrong, regardless of whether he was the one personally making the decisions. And the American people deserve to know if he believed it wrong, why he didn't do anything about it, given he admits he had the capacity to.

Yes, Mitt Romney is not "responsible" for the job losses by Bain from 1999 to 2002 if one's understanding of 'responsibility' revolves around the multinational corporate entitlement culture's concept of responsibility where CEOs are supposedly entitled to all privileges and fat salaries without having to take any actual accountability. If, however, one's notion of responsibility involves character and integrity, and one believes that with great power (of ownership and titles) comes great responsibility, then Mitt Romney is undeniably responsible for Bain's actions during the time which he held that great power of titles and ownership.

At least, I suppose it's good to know which definition of responsibility our "fact checker" in question, Glenn Kessler, uses.