By Steven R. Maher
Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray, and Treasurer Steven Grossman are among the Massachusetts Democratic leaders who received campaign donations from employees of Bain Capital, the investment company Republican nominee Mitt Romney presided over.
Patrick, a long time political ally of President Barack H. Obama, shocked many in the political world when he told CNN Bain was not a “bad company”. Patrick’s comments have reportedly appeared in Romney campaign advertisements in battleground states.
Obama and most of the Republican candidates had portrayed Romney’s Bain as a corporate predator, taking over and selling off other companies’ assets, or leveraging them to the hilt for profit. In the process, Bain was alleged to have devastated entire communities with massive layoffs.
State law requires campaign donations over a certain amount to include the name of the donor’s employer. So we went to the website of the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) which allows a search of campaign donations by a donor’s employer, and then sub-search by candidate. We searched Contributor Employers containing the name “Bain,” sorted by candidate.
Like start up
Deval Patrick received 31 donations from Bain employees totaling $11,500. The fascinating thing about this support is that 65% of it came at the time Patrick needed it most: prior to his first election as Governor in 2006. Patrick received 14 donations totaling $4,900 prior to the September 26, 2006 Democratic primary and another 7 donations totaling $2,500 before the November 2006 general election. It may not sound like much, but for a struggling gubernatorial candidate without spectacular personal wealth of his own, such amounts go a long way in the early stages of a campaign.
Romney received only two Bain donations worth $700 in 2007, the same amount in 2008, one Bain donation of $200 in 2009, $1,200.00 in five donations in 2010, and none at all in 2011 and 2012.
Bain looked at Patrick the way an investment company looks at a start up company with an attractive new product: a good investment, providing seed money for a struggling political entrepreneur. For Mitt Romney, the payback he received from the Bain donations was enormous: staggering under the blows from Obama’s attacks on Bain, he got a rebuttal from an African American supporter of Obama. It was a return on investment, in political terms, that was priceless, a working man’s equivalent of having a winning Power Ball ticket.
Patrick was not the only high level Massachusetts Democrat to benefit from Bain employees’ largesse:
• Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray received ten donations worth $4,350 from Bain employees, all but one of which were made in 2006.
• Treasurer Steven Grossman received six donations totaling $2,350.• Boston May Thomas Menino received $500 in 2005 from a Bain employee.
• In 2008 Massachusetts Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi, now in jail, received a $250 donation from a Bain employee.
• The Massachusetts Democratic State Committee received $35,000 in donations from Bain employees.
• Former Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly received $1,000 in contributions from Bain employees.
• Former State Senate President Robert E. Travaglini received $700 from Bain employees.