The Setting: late 2011-early 2012 -- Repubs were busy hashing out who would be the GOP presidential nominee. Mitt Romney was beginning to peak despite conservative Republicans feeling he was too moderate compared to preferred candidates Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum & Rick Perry. Battles were being fought within the Republican camp as the candidates vied for the top honor of becoming the GOP presidential nominee.
The Player: RedState.com's Chairman of the Board and Manager Editor, Erick Erickson, a regular contributor on CNN. According to Mr Erickson, RedState is a neoconservative American political blog "conservative in the primaries and Republican in general elections".
Posted Oct 31, 2011, Mr Erickson's diary outlined how two McCain staffers/campaign-affiliated people sent Mr Erickson the 200 pages of Opposition Research* the McCain campaign had compiled on Mitt Romney in 2008:
"Back after the 2008 campaign ended and John McCain was winding down his campaign, a McCain staffer sent me the 200 pages of opposition research the campaign had compiled on Mitt Romney. The staffer told me I might find it useful by 2012. Between computer changes, email changes, etc. I lost it.Mr Erickson went on to describe some of the content from the 200-page Opposition Research File:
Late this spring, another former McCain campaign affiliated person sent me the same document. Ten pages in that document sum up why conservatives should think long and hard before embracing Mitt Romney. And once they’ve thought long and hard about it, they should think some more.
These are ten pages that explain completely why so many conservatives do not and cannot trust Mitt Romney."
“After studying Presidential nominations for 30 years, I’ve never seen somebody who has so completely renounced his past record when he decided to run for President, said Northeastern University Professor William Mayer to the Chicago Tribune’s Jill Zuckman on May 22, 2007. That’s how page 168 in the McCain opposition book began. The heading on that page is “Flip-Flops”.Mr Erickson provided a sampling of newspaper quotes and Romney political dirt as cited in the Opposition Research File:
“Romney supports a federal health care plan option that includes abortion services, would vote for a law codifying the 1972 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion and backs federal funding for abortions as long as states can decide if they want the money, [a spokesman] said.” (Ed Hayward, “Anti-Abortion Group Endorses Romney Bid,” Boston Herald, 9/8/94)
“[Massachusetts Citizens for Life] considers Romney to be an abortion-rights supporter, as do national antiabortion groups such as the Family Research Council. … [Romney aide Eric] Fehrnstrom said the governor’s position has not changed on either sex education or abortion.” (Scott S. Greenberger, “Roe V. Wade Omitted From Proclamation,” The Boston Globe, 3/25/05)
“I am firmly pro-life … I was always for life.” (Jim Davenport, “Romney Affirms Abortion Opposition During Stop In SC,” The Associated Press, 2/8/07)
"On the second amendment, Mitt Romney supported the Brady Bill and Assault Weapons ban in 1994, but by 2007, Mitt Romney opposed gun control measures. At one point in 2007, Mitt Romney claimed he owned a gun and then admitted he did not."
"In 2006, Mitt Romney said illegal immigrants should have a path to citizen. In a Lowell Sun article on March 30, 2006, Evan Lehmann quoted Mitt Romney saying “I don’t believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country … With these 11 million people, let’s have them registered, know who they are. Those who’ve been arrested or convicted of crimes shouldn’t be here; those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country.”"For 2 1/2 months, the file didn't get much traction, largely remaining a topic of conversation on conservative blogs.
Then on Jan 17, 2012, BuzzFeed.com Staff Andrew Kaczynski posted the entire contents of the 200-page Opposition Research File on Mitt Romney from 2008, stating the document had been "found online by BuzzFeed".
The file then trickled over to FreeRepublic.com** who took the liberty of compiling all the Medicare Fraud-related evidence gathered in the original file, citing sources & posting an article Jan 18, 2012 entitled 'Romney Was Board Member of Company Fined Over $100 Million For Medicare Fraud -- Criminal Fine'.
Because of its importance, I share with you all of FreeRepublic's gathered data from the original Opposition Research File:
Romney Was Board Member Of Company Fined Over $100 Million For Medicare Fraud – At The Time, It Was The Largest Criminal Fine For Health Care Fraud In History
Romney Sat On Board Of Damon Clinical Laboratories, A Bain Capital Portfolio Company Fined Nearly $120 Million In 1996 Due To Medicare Fraud. “A Needham clinical laboratory agreed yesterday to pay $119 million in criminal and civil fines after pleading guilty to charges that it defrauded the nation’s Medicare system by seeking reimbursements on millions of dollars worth of unnecessary blood tests. … Damon Clinical Laboratories Inc. admitted it tried to boost its profits by submitting the unnecessary tests. The company, the government said, misled doctors into ordering the tests, ensuring that they would be covered by Medicare, the federal health care program for the elderly.” (Kimberly Blanton, “Needham Lab Fined $ 119m For Fraud,” The Boston Globe, 10/10/96)
. At The Time, Largest Criminal Fine In Massachusetts History: “The settlement … would mark the largest criminal fine ever levied in Massachusetts.” (Kimberly Blanton, “Needham Lab Fined $ 119m For Fraud,” The Boston Globe, 10/10/96)
. At The Time, Largest Health Care Fraud Criminal Fine In History: “The $35.3 million criminal fine in the Damon case, one piece of the $119 million total settlement, is the largest ever recovered in a health care fraud case.” (Kimberly Blanton, “Needham Lab Fined $ 119m For Fraud,” The Boston Globe, 10/10/96)
Romney Was On Damon’s Board Of Directors While The Fraud Took Place – He Initially Claimed He Was Unaware Of Any Criminal Investigation. “Mitt Romney, former Republican challenger to US Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who was a member of Damon’s board, said he was unaware of any investigation. … Romney said that [Damon’s then-CEO Robert] Rosen told the board in about 1992 ‘that all current practices at the company were now in conformity with government regulations and that in the past there may have been practices which would not be deemed appropriate.’” (Kimberly Blanton, “Needham Lab Fined $ 119m For Fraud,” The Boston Globe, 10/10/96)
. “Made Large Profits … From A Criminal Scheme To Fraudulently Bill The Federal Medicare System…”
“[Romney] and his venture capital firm made large profits from the 1993 sale of a Needham medical testing company whose robust revenues were generated in part from a criminal scheme to fraudulently bill the federal Medicare system for unnecessary blood tests.” (Frank Phillips, “Romney Profited On Firm Later Tied To Fraud,” The Boston Globe, 10/10/02)
. “Pure And Simple … Corporate Greed Run Amok.” “Damon Corp. pleaded guilty in 1996 to a federal conspiracy charge of defrauding the government of $25 million between 1988 and 1993. It paid a record $119 million fine and penalty for a scheme that then-US Attorney Donald Stern labeled ‘a case, pure and simple, of corporate greed run amok.’” (Frank Phillips, “Romney Profited On Firm Later Tied To Fraud,” The Boston Globe, 10/10/02)
1993: Immediately Following Acquisition By Corning, Damon Closed Plant In Needham Heights, Laid Off 115 Massachusetts Workers. “Republican businessman Mitt Romney … helped direct a Massachusetts medical diagnostics company toward a merger that resulted in the permanent closure of a Needham Heights plant and layoffs of about 115 Massachusetts workers. Damon Corp. was headquartered in Massachusetts for more than 30 years until it was purchased by Corning Inc. in 1993 and the Needham facility was closed. … The day after the merger with Corning was completed, the new company notified the Massachusetts Department of Employment and Training that it was permanently closing the Needham plant and laying off about 115 people.” (Meg Vaillancourt, “Romney-Aided Deal Closed Damon Plant,” The Boston Globe, 10/9/94)
. Romney “Feared” The Massachusetts Layoffs Would Come, But Voted To Approve Deal Anyway. “As a board member, Romney pointed out he had a legally binding ‘fiduciary responsibility’ to get the best deal he could for the shareholders, though he acknowledged that at the time he feared Corning would close down the plant and lay off the Massachusetts employees. … No one met Corning’s tender offer, which Romney described as ‘stunning.’ He said he voted to accept the offer, as did the vast majority of other shareholders. ‘There was nothing I could do.’” (Meg Villancourt, “Romney-Aided Deal Closed Damon Plant,” The Boston Globe, 10/9/94)
As A Gubernatorial Candidate, Romney Claimed He Helped “Uncover” And Stop The Fraud At Damon.
“[R]omney said Thursday he helped uncover the fraud at Damon and hired an outside law firm to investigate it.
"We took action based on what was told to us by the law firm,’ Romney said …” (Ron DePasquale, “Romney Downplays Report He Profited From Firm Tied To Fraud,” The Associated Press, 10/10/02)
. Romney Tries To Take Credit: “Mr. Romney said yesterday that he aided in uncovering and stopping the fraud one year before the sale. … Mr. Romney said board members, including himself … had started an inquiry that led to the disclosure.” (John Monahan, “Ex-Presidents Stump For O’Brien, Romney,” Telegram & Gazette [Worcester, MA], 10/11/02)
. “Romney Has Said He Helped Uncover The Fraud But Never Reported It To Authorities.” (Tom Benner, “O’Brien Sees Savings Possible In Budget,” The Patriot Ledger [Quincy, MA], 10/23/02)
Federal Investigators Rebuffed Romney’s Claims, Saying The Fraud Continued Until Bain And Other Owners Sold Damon To Corning In 1993. “A spokesman for Romney, Eric Fehrnstrom, said Thursday that Romney and other board members helped uncover the fraud at Damon after similar fraudulent practices were found at another laboratory in 1992. … But court records, including statements by prosecutors and by Damon officials, indicated that the fraud continued until Corning purchased the firm. Prosecutors gave Corning sole credit for cleaning up the fraud.” (“Report: Mass. Candidate Romney Profited From Sale Of Firm That Later Admitted Medicare Fraud,” The Associated Press, 10/10/02)*I initially referenced John McCain's 2008 200-page Opposition Research File on Mitt Romney here
. “Federal Officials … Have Disputed Mr. Romney’s Claim That He Helped Stop And Correct The Practice.” “Mr. Romney was a director from 1990 to 1993 and said he and the board of directors learned of the problem in 1993 when its own legal staff investigated the billings. Federal officials who prosecuted the case have disputed Mr. Romney’s claim that he helped stop and correct the practice, saying the company did not report the fraud to federal authorities and the practice was stopped by the company’s new owners after it was sold.” (John Monahan, “Romney Talks To Crowd At Fallon,” Telegram & Gazette [Worcester, MA], 10/12/02)
. “No Corrective Action Was Taken When Romney Was On The Board…” “In the 1996 settlement, records show the [fraud] scheme was carried out between 1988 and the time that Damon was sold, indicating that no corrective action was taken when Romney was on the board and served as a member of its strategic planning committee.” (Frank Phillips, “Romney Profited On Firm Later Tied To Fraud,” The Boston Globe, 10/10/02)
. Officials Gave Corning Sole Credit For Cleaning Up Damon’s Fraudulent Practices. “[C]ourt documents
– and Damon’s admission – reveal that the fraudulent activity was occurring right up until the time Corning purchased the company from Bain and other owners. … [D]amon’s filings with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission during the weeks and months just prior to the sale contain no mention of possible legal problems over its billing system, or potential negative impact that would require downward revenue revisions.” (Frank Phillips, “Romney Profited On Firm Later Tied To Fraud,” The Boston Globe, 10/10/02) “Damon’s Activities Cost US Taxpayers Nearly $40 Million, The Government Said.” (Kimberly Blanton, “Needham Lab Fined $ 119m For Fraud,” The Boston Globe, 10/10/96)
Romney Personal Profit From Bain’s Sale Of Damon: More Than $470,000. “Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitt Romney and his venture capital firm made large profits from the 1993 sale of a Needham medical testing company whose robust revenues were generated in part from a criminal scheme to fraudulently bill the federal Medicare system for unnecessary blood tests. Romney personally made $473,000 when Corning Inc. purchased Damon Corp., on whose board he served between 1990 and 1993.” (Frank Phillips, “Romney Profited On Firm Later Tied To Fraud,” The Boston Globe, 10/10/02)
. Romney Earned Nearly $40,000 In Directors’ Fees Alone. “Romney’s firm, Bain Capital, and Romney himself were minority investors in Damon from 1990 through August 1993. The Belmont businessman sat on Damon’s board of directors, earning nearly $40,000 in directors’ fees, and was a member of the company’s strategic planning committee when Damon was sold to Corning.” (Meg Vaillancourt, “Romney-Aided Deal Closed Damon Plant,” The Boston Globe, 10/9/94)
Bain Capital Tripled Its Investment On The Deal: “[Romney’s] firm, Bain Capital, tripled its initial investment, making a profit of $7.4 million over a four-year period for its investors, according to copies of Bain documents obtained by the Globe.” (Frank Phillips, “Romney Profited On Firm Later Tied To Fraud,” The Boston Globe, 10/10/02)
Romney “Proud” Of Role With Damon. “‘I’m proud of the small part I played in the growth of Damon,’ Romney said yesterday. ‘It’s something that Ted Kennedy doesn’t have a clue about – creating real jobs in the private sector.’” (Meg Vaillancourt, “Romney-Aided Deal Closed Damon Plant,” The Boston Globe, 10/9/94)
**Appropriately, FreeRepublic.com greets visitors to their homepage stating:
"Free Republic is the premier online gathering place for independent, grass-roots conservatism on the web. We're working to roll back decades of governmental largesse, to root out political fraud and corruption, and to champion causes which further conservatism in America. And we always have fun doing it. Hoo-yah!"Today, I'd like us all to join with FreeRepublic in shouting 'Hoo-yah!'