February 27, 2012

Romney Boosted By Wall Street Videos Orchestrated By Firm Run By Ex-Clinton Admin Officials

Romney Boosted By Wall Street Videos Orchestrated By Firm Run By Ex-Clinton Admin Officials
Screen shot from the video launched by lobbyists representing the private equity industry. The ads are designed to curb criticism on special tax loopholes enjoyed by Wall Street -- including Mitt Romney's firm Bain Capital.
As Democrats rejoice over the sagging Mitt Romney campaign in Michigan, a leading DC influence firm staffed by ex-Clinton officials has quietly orchestrated a media effort that appears designed to defend the beleaguered GOP establishment candidate as he goes into Tuesday’s primary.

Two days ago, the Private Equity Growth Capital Council (PEGCC), a lobbying association for private equity managers, launched a new multimedia effort that celebrates Wall Street investments in Detroit. At a time when both Obama surrogates and Romney’s adversaries are hammering the former Massachusetts governor’s career in private equity, the video campaign echoes the case that Romney himself makes for why his business record makes him the best choice for the White House.

The PEGCC pro-Wall Street campaign is being organized by the Glover Park Group, a lobbying firm founded by former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart and other officials from the Clinton administration. Although Lockhart departed last year to take a position at Facebook, and the firm has now hired a number of well-connected Republicans,  the Glover Park Group is prominently associated with the Democratic Party and with various progressive causes. Despite those ties, Glover Park  now is helping the private equity industry ensure that the special tax benefits conferred to firms like Bain Capital, the investment company founded by Romney, are not eliminated. The carried interest loophole, for example, allows billionaire private equity managers to pay a lower tax rate than middle class Americans.

Since 2008, the private equity industry has paid Glover Park at least $795,558 for “public affairs,” according to disclosures obtained by Republic Report. Joseph Caruso, a vice president with the firm, “Currently … manages a national public affairs campaign on behalf of the Private Equity Council.”

Beyond pushing back broadly on the attack on private equity firm privileges, the Glover Park-assisted PEGCC campaign is focused on Michigan just as Michigan voters are ready to render a critical judgment on Romney.  The new PEGCC video is called “Success Stories: Investing in the Detroit’s Health.” Though the video is not being aired on television, an official connected to the campaign says that it will be distributed among a “a defined narrow and influential audience.”

Earlier this month, Republic Report noted that the “people” featured on the PEGCC campaign website are merely stock images.