If you’re just playing the piano in a whorehouse, maybe people will believe you didn’t know what was going on upstairs. But if you claim to be the madam – “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” – that gets a lot harder, especially if you make the claim in SEC filings, where lying is a legal no-no. Romney’s signature is one one of those filings.

The media has largely bought Romney’s claim that he stopped being responsible for Bain Capital’s misdeeds in 1999 when he left to run the Olympics. Now it turns out he was getting six-figure “executive compensation” in each of 2001 and 2002.

The Romney campaign says the report, which quotes the documents Bain Capital filed with the government, is “inaccurate.” But it doesn’t say how, or explain how the CEO of a company can be completely disconnected from its management.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

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Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.