Tales from the Trail

Ad connecting Romney to company in Medicare fraud case “mostly true”

Last week a public workers union launched a television ad that raised an old question about presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s connection to Damon Corp, a company that defrauded Medicare by the millions while under the watch of Romney’s private equity firm Bain Capital. Thursday, the Super PAC Winning Our Future, which supports Romney’s Republican rival Newt Gingrich released the trailer for a campaign video titled “Blood Money” that echoes the same criticism.

The ad created by AFSCME equates Romney with Florida Governor Rick Scott whose approval rating is one of the lowest in the country. Scott is the former CEO of the hospital chain Columbia/HCA that became embroiled in a Medicare fraud case in the late 1990s.

A narrator speaking over black and white photos of Romney says he was director of Damon Corp, which was later fined $100 million for medicare fraud. Romney’s image morphs into that of Rick Scott as the narrator asks, “Corporate greed … Medicare fraud. Sound familiar?”

PolitiFact, a fact-checking site run by the Tampa Bay Times, called the ad “Mostly True.” Although it is true Romney was head of Damon Corporation, which did defraud Medicare by the millions, Romney was never personally implicated, the site says.

See the video from AFSCME here, from PolitiFact’s site:

See the trailer for Winning Our Future’s campaign video (much more dramatic) here, from their Youtube page:

Gingrich sheds doubt on Romney’s business past

Newt Gingrich raised questions about Mitt Romney’s private sector past at two back-to-back debates over the weekend in New Hampshire, returning to an allegation he made last month that Mitt Romney made a fortune at Bain by “bankrupting companies and laying off employees.”

A new report by the New York Times, Gingrich said, showed that Bain, the private equity firm co-founded by Romney, had “looted” one particular company (although it turns out he was actually referring to a Reuters story, written by Andy Sullivan and Greg Roumeliotis, about Bain’s investment in a Kansas City steel mill).

At Saturday night’s debate, moderator George Stephanopoulos asked Gingrich to address a new, “very scathing attack” by a pro-Gingrich Super PAC against Romney’s work at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he co-founded. The video, Stephanopoulos said, calls Romney’s “tenure ‘a story of greed’…saying that Bain made spectacular profits by ‘stripping American businesses of assets, selling everything to the highest bidder and often killing jobs for big financial rewards.’”