The Obama campaign leveled new charges Thursday that Mitt Romney was misrepresenting his time at Bain Capital, and the Romney camp called into question the integrity of the campaign the president is running.
The sharpened rhetoric came as the Obama campaign spotlighted reports in Mother Jones and The Boston Globe, based on Securities and Exchange Commission filings and campaign-finance disclosures, that show Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee, was listed as Bain's CEO and sole owner from 1999 to 2002. Romney has said he stepped away from his duties at the private equity firm during those years and had no involvement in its investment strategy.
That period is crucial because several Bain Capital investments made during that time were in companies that moved jobs overseas. The Obama camp has used Romney's tenure at Bain to make its case he would "outsource" U.S. jobs.
Bain Capital issued a statement Thursday saying Romney had "absolutely no involvement with the management or investment activities of the firm or with any of its portfolio companies since the day of his departure" in 1999.
Romney is not listed as a part of the private equity firm's management team from December 2000 on, according to archives on Bain's website.
Earlier records were not available.
Obama aides used the new revelations to reiterate their call for Romney to release tax returns dating back to his final years at Bain, something that the candidate has thus far refused to do.
Obama's deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, said in a conference call with reporters that either Romney "was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony," or he was trying "to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments."
The Romney campaign blasted the Obama campaign for leveling "baseless" accusations and called on the president to apologize.
"President Obama's campaign hit a new low today when one of its senior advisers made a reckless and unsubstantiated charge to reporters about Mitt Romney that was so over the top that it calls into question the integrity of their entire campaign," Matt Rhoades, Romney's campaign manager, said in a statement.
Victor Fleischer, a law professor and private equity expert at the University of Colorado, said that Romney's involvement at Bain during the years in question will remain unclear without further disclosure of tax documents.
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