If, as Romney claims, he did no work for Bain Capital between February 1999 and 2003 then he received roughly $400,000 for work he didn’t do. The alternative is that he committed a felony, which even his defenders at FactCheck.org acknowledge. The $400,000 is significant because it was salary or compensation for work, and not interest payments or dividends or some other capital gain. But that doesn’t mean that Romney didn’t make a fortune on the roughly 6,000 jobs (at a minimum) his company destroyed in the four years in question.

Let’s be clear about this. Whether or not Mitt Romney was actually making day-to-day decisions for Bain Capital in the 1999-2003 time period, he was the CEO, chairman of the board, lone stockholder, and 100% owner of the firm. Even if he wasn’t doing any work, he was being paid for work. Even if he didn’t even look at the deals that cost at least 6,000 Americans their jobs, he profited from those transactions.

That’s what makes it strange that he would use his absentee ownership as an excuse. If his partners had made bad deals and lost Bain Capital all its money, does anyone think Romney wouldn’t have been upset? If his delegates were doing things he thought were unethical and wrong, does anyone believe he wouldn’t have either told them to stop or sold them the company and disassociated himself from their activities?

As a legal matter, I am curious how it could not be a crime for Romney to have certified he did no work if he was compensated for work. Does a prosecutor have to prove that he made a phone call or consulted on a deal, or do they just have to point to his pay stub and say, “Yup, you worked there”? Because when people ask me to prove I worked somewhere, I show them my pay stub. That’s normally considered proof that you were employed there. They paid you, so you must have done some work.

Who gets paid nearly a half a million dollars to do nothing?

Yet, amazingly, it could be true. Mitt Romney could have pulled in a six-figure salary for four consecutive years of doing absolutely nothing. That’s what he wants you and me to believe, anyway, because the alternative is that he’s a felon who is responsible for the destruction of 6,000 jobs.

Except, he’s responsible for that job loss either way. If a couple of mobsters shake down a local business owner and then give their Godfather a piece of the action, you don’t absolve the Godfather because he didn’t authorize the shakedown. That’s just his business model. Others suffer; he gets rich.

It’s beyond me how Romney can try to use his absence as any kind of excuse. With this guy, the buck never stops with him.