THE WEEK IN GREED #10: GOP Nominee Faces Agony of Deceit


July 18, 2012, 2:12 PM EST

BOSTON, Mass. (Rumpus Press) – Seeking to defuse a growing controversy over his involvement with Bain Capital, the leveraged buyout firm he founded, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney appeared Friday on five network news programs to lie his fucking head off.

In clearly scripted and nearly identical language, Romney claimed he “had no role with regards to Bain Capital after February of 1999”—an effort to evade blame for the company’s subsequent outsourcing and firings.

Multiple filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, list Romney as the company’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” up until 2002.

In a report submitted to the SEC by Bain on February 20, 2001, for instance, Romney is identified as “sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital and thus is the controlling person of Bain Capital.”

Romney, who, unless he is lying, is 65, was not asked to explain how he could be the “sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital and thus … the controlling person of Bain Capital” while having “no role” in the company.

But investigative reporters were able to deduce a subtle flaw in Romney’s logic: either the SEC form was fraudulent, which is illegal, or Romney was lying his fucking head off.

Complicating matters are yet more forms, which Romney signed and which also reveal him to be lying. In 2002, for instance, the liar Romney signed a financial disclosure form, under the penalty of perjury, declaring he was not involved “in any way” with Bain after 1999, when he relocated to Salt Lake City to take over the Winter Olympics.

That same year, hoping to prove his residency in Massachusetts so he could run for governor, Romney, or El Mentiroso, as he is known amongst Hispanic activists, testified that “there were a number of social trips and business trips” that brought him back to the Massachusetts from Utah, including “board meetings.”

And back in 1999, presumably long before he planned to run for president, Romney told a reporter from the Boston Herald that he would “stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions.”

Because it is technically impossible to not be involved with an entity “in any way” while also being a part-time employee of that entity who provides input and attends board meetings, Romney can be said, technically, to be lying and is ergo a liar.

In yet another financial disclosure form, Romney testified that he received more than $100,000 to serve as an “executive” at Bain in 2001 and 2002. It is unclear how much more than $100,000 Romney was paid for being an executive with “no role whatsoever” at Bain, because Romney has refused to release more than one year of his tax returns.

But reporters were able to establish that Romney was either paid for doing nothing, or that he actually did some work for Bain during those years—and is thus lying.

Romney, a liar, has a long and storied history of lying. He once claimed to have watched his father, George Romney, march with civil rights leader Martin Luther King. It was later revealed that the senior Romney, who was not, like his son, a prodigious liar, had never marched with King.

At six-feet-two-inches tall, Romney is not only one of history’s tallest presidential candidates, but arguably its most dishonest. He has repeatedly lied about his opponent, asserting that Barack Obama “did not cause the recession, but he made it worse.”

When a reporter from NBC news asked Romney about this claim, noting that virtually every economic indicator, from unemployment to GDP growth to stock prices, has improved under Obama, Romney said, “I didn’t say things were worse. What I said was that the economy hasn’t turned around.”

In other words, when confronted with one of his many lies, Romney, whose real first name is Willard and not Mitt, lied.

Romney also has accused Obama of doubling the deficit, cutting Medicare benefits, raising corporate taxes and failing to make trade deals – all of which are demonstrably false statements. He has lied about the budgetary effect of the President’s health care reform, claiming it will add a trillion dollars to the deficit, when, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, it will in fact reduce the deficit.

Romney also has lied about his evolving policy positions, such as his regard for Ronald Reagan, his willingness to sign a no-tax pledge, and his views on global warming. As governor of Massachusetts, he said, “I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose.” What he meant by this, as he explained recently, is, “I never really called myself pro-choice,” which is, somewhat predictably, a lie.

Like many habitual liars, Romney has endured occasional disastrous forays into veracity. In January, he told an audience he was “not concerned about the very poor.” The following month, in an attempt to curry favor with voters in Michigan, where many people are poor, he mentioned that his wife, Ann, “drives a couple of Cadillacs.” He also told a heckler that “corporations are people, my friend.” The heckler, it was later learned, was not his friend.

Romney, whose faith of Mormonism includes a practice known as “lying for the Lord,” has also told audiences that his favorite foods are hotdogs and meatloaf cakes. There is, as yet, no evidence to suggest that he is lying.

Thus far, Obama and his campaign officials have refrained from pointing out Romney’s pattern of constant lying. His opponents in the Republican primary were not as deferential.

Asked in January whether he thought Romney was a liar, Newt Gingrich replied, “Yes.”

“You’re calling Mitt Romney a liar?” asked a stunned Norah O’Donnell, the network’s chief White House correspondent.

“Well, you seem shocked by it!” said Gingrich. He went on to note that Romney’s staff had created the Political Action Committee that battered Gingrich with negative ads. “His millionaire friends fund the PAC, he pretends he has nothing to do with the PAC – it’s baloney. He’s not telling the American people the truth.”

Romney, who lies virtually every time he speaks in public, has come under increasing pressure, both from liberals and conservatives, to release his tax returns.

To date, he has released only one full tax return, which showed that he paid 13.9 percent on more than $20 million income—the effective rate generally applied to a family making $20,000. The return, which presumably contains no lies, also revealed that Romney has a Swiss bank account, and unexplained investments in known tax havens such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Romney’s response to these calls for greater financial candor has been to express an understandable concern, given his own patterns of aspersion: “I’m simply not enthusiastic about giving [the Obama campaign] hundreds or thousands of more pages to pick through, distort, and lie about.”

Romney, who is like many liars extremely handsome, may announce his vice presidential pick as soon as this week, in an effort to distract the media from his refusal to release additional tax returns, and his habitual and possibly illegal deceptions regarding his departure from Bain.

It is not yet clear whether Romney will require his running mate to lie as much as he does.

Steve Almond's most recent book, Against Football, was a New York Times bestseller for at least three seconds. More from this author →