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The Washington Post

By and Alice Crites, Wednesday, May 30, 8:33 AM

BOSTON — Mitt Romney marched into the Massachusetts State House in 2003 as a self-declared reformer, pledging to fix a judicial nominating system he decried as riddled with patronage and backroom deals.

Quoting John Adams, the new governor vowed to appoint judges purely on merit, put partisanship aside and restrict political contributions by those applying for the bench. “The citizens of Massachusetts deserve to have a squeaky clean process that has no room for politics and favors,’’ Romney said as he announced changes to judicial selection that were hailed as a national model.

Three years later, Romney changed course. He effectively took over the independent judicial screening commission he had unveiled with such fanfare. And as he geared up to run for president in 2008, Romney dismissed members of the commission who were resisting his choices for judgeships, according to documents and interviews.

Romney’s judicial nominees and his ill-fated effort to reform a politicized system offer a window into how he made some of his most important decisions as the state’s chief executive. As a Republican governor in a strongly Democratic state, he started as a good-government idealist, bumped up against an entrenched system and ultimately decided to work within it. And if, as Romney suggests, his time as governor is a key selling point for the presidency, his judicial appointments may be one of the most lasting legacies.

Though he once said people connected to state government would be at a disadvantage in seeking judgeships, Romney ended up appointing seven lawyers from inside his administration.

In his final 17 months in office, Romney pushed through a surge of judicial nominees, some with controversial records, others with the kind of political connections he had once condemned, records show. They included a former consultant for Bain & Co., the consulting firm where Romney made his reputation in business;a former Republican legislator rejected as too political by the screening panel, and a court clerk who had been reprimanded for asking a female co-worker to perform a lap dance at a strip club.

Before leaving office, he was forced to withdraw several nominees.

Judicial appointments often spark political fights, especially in a divided government. Romney’s Republican predecessor, Gov. Jane Swift, also drew criticism for late-term nominees deemed too political, including the Republican state House leader and a longtime Republican operative with no court experience.

The current Massachusetts governor, Deval L. Patrick (D) has been generally praised for his state supreme court choices, including the first black chief justice. But a number of his lower-court nominees have faced controversy, including a woman whose husband, a Democratic state representative, had donated tens of thousands of dollars, mostly to Democrats, including Patrick.

Unlike other governors, Romney promised far-reaching reforms.

“About 65 percent of these people appointed judges in Massachusetts — I’m not saying they’re not qualified, but they got appointed because of who they know,’’ said Christopher Iannella Jr. (D), the longest serving member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council, the Colonial-era body that approves nominees. “Romney tried to change it, and I don’t think he was successful. I don’t see any difference between him and the rest.’’

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Published on May 21, 2012 by

Learn more: http://www.romneyeconomics.com
With American Pad & Paper (Ampad), Mitt Romney and his partners took a small but successful paper products business and merged it with other companies in the industry, piling up debt as they went. Ultimately, the company was unable to keep up with the interest payments on its debt and was forced into bankruptcy, but not before Romney and his partners were able to squeeze out more than $100 million for themselves.

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WSJ

Updated March 28, 2012, 10:09 p.m. ET

By MARK MAREMONT

Just after Philippe Wells took a job in 1998 at Bain Capital, then run by Mitt Romney, he recalls hearing an unusual boast from a partner. The man’s individual retirement account had jumped tenfold in five years.

Mr. Wells soon learned how this was possible. Bain, like many other private-equity firms, allowed employees to co-invest in its takeover deals. This posed a risk they could lose their whole investment, as they sometimes did. But because of the firm’s success during the Romney era, employees ended up able to share in returns for Bain investors that averaged 50% to 80% annually.

Bain added a couple of unusual twists that made co-investing even more rewarding. It allowed employees to co-invest via tax-deferred retirement accounts, and to do so by buying a special share class that cost little but yielded much larger gains than other shares when deals proved successful, according to former employees and internal Bain documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal.

In one particularly successful deal, Bain increased the equity value of a company it had acquired by 36-fold in 20 months. But some Bain employees saw a 583-fold increase over the same period on IRA money they invested in the special share class of that company. Being in an IRA, the gain could then be rolled over, without initially subtracting taxes, into fresh Bain deals, for years of compounding.

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