Bain alumni raise $4.5 million for Romney

July 20, 2012

By Gregory Korte, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Among Mitt Romney‘s most prolific fundraisers are two dozen current and former employees of Bain Capital and its parent firm who have helped raise at least $4.5 million to help their former colleague defeat President Obama.

The Romney campaign has not disclosed the 26 current and former Bain employees as “bundlers,” but USA TODAY has identified them through invitations to fundraisers where they served on the host committee.

Obama has released his list of bundlers, leading to a coordinated attack by Romney allies this week accusing the president of “political payoffs” in the form of federal grants and loans to his fundraisers. One bundler cited was California investor Steve Westly, whose company’s holdings include a firm that receive money for an Energy Department program.

Romney has not released his own list of bundlers, so USA TODAY has compiled its own list of more than 1,200 from Romney press releases, lobbyist disclosures, fundraiser invitations and other news accounts.

Most of Romney’s Bain bundlers are former partners at Bain Capital, the Boston-based private equity firm that Romney says he left in 1999. But the list also includes two current managing directors whose tenure overlapped with Romney’s: Steven Barnes and his wife have contributed $151,600 to various committees supporting Romney, and Stephen Zide and his wife have contributed $655,000.

Zide is on the board of Sensata Technologies, and owns at least a 10% share in the company, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Sensata is the former sensors and controls division of Texas Instruments bought by Bain in 2006 for $3 billion. Now, it’s laying off 170 employees at its Freeport, Ill., plant and moving the jobs to China .

Monday, the Freeport City Council called on Romney to visit the town and ask his former company to save American jobs. “He’s still getting plenty of income from his investments at Bain. This is a company he created,” said Cheryl Randecker, a Sensata employee who said she’s been training her Chinese replacements. “Romney talks about creating American jobs. We don’t have to create them if we would just leave them.”

Zide’s secretary referred questions to Bain Capital spokesman Alex Stanton, who said he would not comment.

Obama, too, has taken $118,121 in campaign contributions from employees of Bain Capital and parent Bain & Co. since 2004, according to the Center for Responsive Politics — something the Romney campaign says demonstrates the “height of hypocrisy.”

“President Obama has based his entire re-election campaign on a vicious, dishonest assault on Mitt Romney’s business career,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “The real question for President Obama is this: If Bain Capital is so bad, why have you taken nearly $120,000 in donations from them?”

Other Romney bundlers with Bain connections include Dick Boyce, who also gave $300,000 to Restore Our Future super PAC, and Edward Conard, who gave $1 million to the Romney-affiliated super PAC last year through a phantom company.

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