There's a lurid anti-Romney meme that's been building momentum on liberal blogs and Twitter over the last several weeks. The claim? As an executive at Bain Capital, the presumptive GOP nominee invested in a medical waste company that services abortion clinics. As the Left becomes increasingly desperate -- and given the Obama campaign's flagrant lack of fealty to the truth -- it's entirely possible (if not probable) that this attack will make the jump to primetime in the coming weeks or months. Via Jim Geragthy, CNN outlines the basics:
Inside both Bain and the Romney campaign, there is a strong belief that either the Obama campaign or a Democratic ally wants to use another Bain investment against Romney late in the campaign but cannot do so with any credibility under the February 1999 departure scenario. The investment in question: Stericycle, a medical waste company that, among other things, disposed of aborted fetuses. How could the Stericycle investment be used against Romney? Bain's involvement in a company that disposed of aborted fetuses could make a powerful final week direct mail piece or attack ad on Christian radio. And in a close election, turnout of the religious right is one of the keys to a Romney victory in November.
You can almost envision the ads already: "Flip-flopping Mitt Romney was once pro-choice, but now says he's pro-life. What he doesn't want you to know is that as a greedy vulture capitalist at Bain Capital, he invested in a company that disposed of the remains of fetuses -- profiting from an industry he claims to oppose." The motivation behind these criticisms would not be to express moral outrage over the ghoulish process of discarding unborn children as human waste, of course. Indeed, those who are pushing this line of attack almost universally support abortion on demand, and thus would hold no objection to a company complicit in the abortion industry. These smears are obviously aimed at driving a wedge between Romney and social conservatives, with the goal of depressing turnout. They would also serve to paint Romney as an amoral opportunist, so consumed by rank avarice that he is willing to sell out any "principles" he claims to hold dear for an extra buck. I employ the word "smears" here because the entire allegation is patently untrue. Back to CNN:
Bain negotiated the Stericyle investment deal in November 1999, nine months after Romney said he left. Bain's investors pour money into numbered investment pools. Several sources said that Fund VII was the main investment vehicle at that time. "You don't see his name anywhere -- in the meetings list, the investor documents, the manager paperwork -- it would have to be there if he was involved in any way," one current Bain officer said of Romney and Fund VII. "He was long gone then."
Geragthy points to additional evidence from the Huffington Post that further discredits the invented Romney/Stericycle nexus:
“By the time Bain Capital had made the investment in Stericycle, he had left the firm to run the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. He maintained ownership in Bain and kept holdings in its private equity funds, which included Stericycle stock, but he had no say in the managerial or strategic decisions at the firm, according to Bain officials...Stericycle’s work with abortion clinics constitutes a ‘small’ portion of its overall operations, an official with the company told The Huffington Post (the official declined to confirm whether or not Planned Parenthood specifically is still a client)… There is no publicly available data showing that either Romney or other officials at Bain knew of Stericycle’s work with Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics before the investment.”
LifeNews goes even further in exposing the mendacity of the "Romney profited from abortion" line:
- Bain Capital sold off 40 percent of its shares in Stericycle in 2001 and sold the rest by 2004.
- Stericycle apparently began contracting with abortion clinics in 2007.
- The pro-life community only became aware of Stericycle’s role in abortion clinics, and campaigning against its work, in 2011.
To recap: Bain invested in Stericycle after Mitt Romney left the company, and appears to have fully divested from the company three years prior to Stericycle beginning its work with abortion clinics. Also, the pro-life organizations that most actively oppose abortion didn't discover Stericycle's connection to abortion until roughly a dozen years after a (Romney-free) Bain Capital made its long-since-expired investment. But aside from all that, Romney profited from abortion! If Team Obama or any of its unofficial surrogates decide to resurrect this inaccurate claim over the next four months, perhaps it might be time for conservatives to remind the American people that Barack Obama was the leading opponent of the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act as a State Senator. The law was crafted to end the barbaric (and documented) practice of abortionists abandoning babies who survived botched abortions, leaving them to suffer and die. Obama has offered various explanations for his multiple votes, several of which have been proven to be false and deliberately misleading.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography