This is what happened today. CNBC said that the Treasury spoke to Bain and Company about the auto bailout. Bain and Company said they didn’t, and that it was another Bain — Bain Consulting. Then CNBC retracted their story. That’s what we reported.
Now it seems the whole story isn’t that simple.
Business Insider contacted the Treasury to see exactly what was going on. See, CNBC’s Eamon Javers got his story from a July 2010 SIGTARP (Special Inspector General for the Troubles Asset Relief Program) report about Chrysler and GM potentially reducing their dealership networks.
On page 10, the report says that someone from SIGTARP spoke to an expert at “Bain Consulting” about a number of things — dealership inventory, floorspace etc.
When we contacted the Treasury, they said that the report was hastily written and that they were, in fact, referring to Bain and Company of Mitt Romney fame. So according to the Treasury, they did talk to Bain and Company, but it may have done so off the record, informally, and not under any sort of contract.
Here’s the Treasury’s statement:
As part of its July 2010 audit report, SIGTARP interviewed individuals with whom the Treasury Auto Team consulted. As stated in the report, the Auto Team noted that its conversations with the individuals were “off-the-record” and “not documented.”
One of these individuals identified himself to SIGTARP as being with Bain Consulting, which was how SIGTARP referenced the company in the report.
It appears that the gentleman is a representative of Bain & Company, Inc., the consulting firm.
The identification of Bain Consulting in SIGTARP’s audit report was imprecise.
We’ve put a call in to Bain and Company to see what they have to say about this, and we’re still waiting for a response.
Who knows why this has become such an issue. Sure, Republicans did not like the auto bailout, but Romney wasn’t even at Bain and Company at the time. Either way, now the question is: Who dropped the ball on this one?
We’ll let you know more when we have it.