Snarky news site Gawker has 950 pages of internal financial documents obtained from Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, and they need your help sorting through them. The site has one of those old-fashioned feelings, what we in the journalism biz call “the gut feeling,” that these documents could be potentially damaging to the GOP presidential candidate. They just need some help “translating” them.
“Gawker has obtained and published more than 950 pages of internal financial documents for 21 cryptically named entities in which Mitt Romney had invested—at minimum—more than $10 million as of 2011,” reports Gawker. “Almost all of them are affiliated with Bain Capital, the secretive private equity firm Romney co-founded in 1984 and ran until his departure in 1999; many of them are offshore funds based in the Cayman Islands. Together, they reveal the mind-numbing, maze-like, and deeply opaque complexity with which Romney has handled his $250 million fortune.”
Still, the website’s editors have humbly declared that they can’t make heads or tails of the documents (and honestly, neither can we).
“The documents are exceedingly complicated. We don’t pretend to be qualified to decode them in full, which is why we are posting them here for readers to help evaluate,” says Gawker.
They have made some headway thus far, but CNN Fortune warns that they may not find the pot of gold they’re looking for.
“Let me save you some time,” writes Dan Primack. “There is nothing in there that will inform your opinion of Mitt Romney.”
“How do I know? Because I saw many of the exact same documents months ago, after requesting them from a Bain Capital investor. What I quickly learned was that there was little of interest, except perhaps for private equity geeks who want to know exactly how much Bain paid for a particular company back in 2006. Sure I would have loved the pageviews, but not at the expense of tricking readers into clicking on something of so little value,” he writes.
The link to the published pages is here, just in case you have some expertise in the area. You can also go to Gawker’s main page to see where they’re at thus far with the Bain investigation, and CNN Fortune’s column for Dan Primack’s preemptive Mitt Romney fact-check.