Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign announced that it is trying to shift the conversation this week away from his time at Bain Capital to one that focuses on cronyism in Washington, something that's hard to do as Bain Capital employees continue writing big checks for the candidate's campaign and surely will receive favored treatment.
Here are the facts, based on analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Center for Responsive Politics:
- People listing variations of “Bain Capital” as their employer donated $830,400 to the Romney Victory fund in the second quarter of 2012, according to Public Campaign Action Fund analysis of the committee’s FEC report filed on Sunday.*
- Before this latest report, Bain Capital employees had already donated $156,500 to Romney’s 2012 campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
- Six current Bain employees have contributed $1,625,000 to “Restore Our Future,” the main support PAC working to elect Romney. All six have also donated to Romney’s campaign. Ed Conard, who lists Bain Capital as his employer on the newly released quarterly report, donated an additional $1 million to the super PAC.
- In his failed 2008 bid, Bain Capital employees donated $118,550 to Romney.
- Bain employees have also donated $164,500 to Romney’s Free & Strong America PAC since 2007.
- In total, Bain Capital employees have given at least $3.9 million to Romney’s campaigns, leadership PAC, and super PAC since 2007.
The Romney campaign's contortions over Bain Capital befit an Olympic gymnast, but it's not just SEC forms that are the problem. He is raking in big bucks from these Bain Capital employees. They know that if elected he'll support policies that benefit them. These donors are also investors--they know what they're paying for.
Favors for campaign donors that Romney will hit Obama for this week are a problem—but Romney himself is not immune. More than two dozen lobbyists--those with business before Congress and the administration--have bundled millions for Romney so far. His super PAC has received big bucks from companies that depend on government contracts.
Talking Points Memo notes today that when asked how he'd end this crony capitalism, the Romney campaign offered no solutions. In fact, the only thing Romney has offered about campaign finance is that we should get rid of contribution limits altogether.
We welcome discussion about the influence of big donors in our political system, but he should also provide a real solution, not just empty rhetoric.
*These donations do not include contributions from Bain & Co., a separate entity, whose employees donated an additional $150,000.