May 24, 2012

Ex-Clinton Officials, Now Lobbyists Employed By Private Equity Firms, Launch Ads To Counter Criticism Of Romney

Ex-Clinton Officials, Now Lobbyists Employed By Private Equity Firms, Launch Ads To Counter Criticism Of Romney Politico’s Ben White yesterday reported that a lobby group for the private equity industry is unleashing an effort this week to “push back” against criticism of Mitt Romney’s record at the private equity firm he founded, Bain Capital:

FIRST LOOK: PRIVATE EQUITY FIGHTS BACK – The Private Equity Growth Capital Council is releasing a new video today as part of the industry’s efforts to push back against what it views as inaccurate caricature by the Obama campaign and its surrogates. Per the PEGCC, the new video shows “how private equity investment transformed Michigan based AxleTech International from a regional manufacturer into the world’s leading supplier of specialty axles to the U.S. military. AxleTech was private equity-owned from 2005 to 2008, when it was sold to General Dynamics” Video:

As Republic Report covered earlier this year, the Private Equity Growth Council is administered by the Glover Park Group, a lobbying firm founded by former Democratic officials from the Clinton administration. Joseph Caruso, a senior vice president with Glover Park, even boasts on his firm’s website that he “manages a national public affairs campaign on behalf of the Private Equity Council.” During the Republican primaries, the Glover Park Group’s Private Equity Growth Council moved to launched videos to counter Newt Gingrich’s criticism of Romney’s record at Bain. Now, it’s clear that these lobbyists are maneuvering to counter President Obama’s campaign rhetoric.

Many of the Democrats now publicly complaining about vilification of aspects of the private equity industry — which enjoys incredibly low tax rates because of loopholes in the tax code — are funded by private equity firms. Zaid Jiliani pointed out earlier this week that Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who denounced criticism of Romney’s experience in private equity while appearing on Meet the Press, received major support for his political career from the same set of private equity investors who are now funding the Romney Super PAC.

Former Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA) joined in the chorus, telling Buzzfeed:

And Rendell joined the chorus of criticism of Obama’s attacks on finance, whose leaders have written checks to many members of both parties. “I think they’re very disappointing,” Rendell said of the ads attacking Bain. “I think Bain is fair game, because Romney has made it fair game. But I think how you examine it, the tone, what you say, is important as well.”

Rendell neglected to mention that he is now an Operating Partner to a private equity/venture capital firm called Element Partners, or that Greenhill & Co., where he serves as a Senior Advisor, advises private equity firms on investment decisions.

According to the most recent available disclosures, a private equity trade association paid Glover Park Group $348,860 for “public affairs” work. Another Democratic lobbying firm, Dewey Square Group, was paid $188,544.

While it’s unclear how this election may shape up in terms of the discussion over private equity, or any other aspect of the Romney record, one thing is for certain: Money talks, often even louder than partisan loyalties.

RELATED: Private Equity Titans Launch Pro-Tax Loophole PR Blitz; Only Finds Stock Image Supporters