May 25th, 2012
04:01 PM ET
11 years ago

Bain employees may have paid for TV ads bashing the company

Washington (CNN) – The Obama ads about Bain Capital, the private equity firm Mitt Romney used to run, are harsh.

"They closed it down. They filed for bankruptcy," said a somber former employee of GST steel in a recent Obama campaign ad.

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"They're like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us," said another worker testimonial.

The irony is that some of the money to pay for these Obama television ads may have come from inside the very company team Obama is demonizing: Bain Capital.

It turns out employees of Bain Capital have given $124,900 in donations to the Obama campaign this election cycle.

Three of those Bain Capital donors – Mark Nunnelly, Stephen Pagluica and Jonathan Lavine – have given $35,800, the maximum amount allowed by law, to President Barack Obama's re-election efforts.

In the case of Lavine – he didn't just write his own check to the president – he's a bundler, someone who also helps the Obama campaign raise money from others.

$124,900 is a good chunk of change from people who work at a company the Obama campaign and its allies, like pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA, vilify.

"Bain Capital always made money. If we lost, they made money. If we survived they made money. It's as simple as that," said a man standing outside a closed plant, in a Priorities USA television ad.

All of the nearly $125,000 in donations to the Obama campaign from Bain Capital employees were made in 2011 – well before the president's team started accusing Romney of killing jobs while at the venture capital firm.

Still, the Obama campaign told CNN they do not intend to return any campaign cash from Bain Capital employees.

"No one aside from Mitt Romney is running for president highlighting their tenure as a corporate buyout specialist as one of job creation, when in fact, his goal was profit maximization," Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told CNN.

But it begs the question: isn't it hypocritical for the president to keep campaign cash from employees of a company his campaign goes after as job killers?

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz answered that question this way: "Accepting a contribution from a particular person involved in venture capital and criticizing Mitt Romney who has made his record as a venture capitalist at Bain the essential focus of his credibility and qualification for being president are completely different things."

CNN put calls into the Bain Capital employees who donated to the president to ask if they will demand their money back. The calls were not returned.

However, a spokesman for Bain Capital said, "We are not a political organization and take no position on any candidate."

"We celebrate the fact that our employees are active in civic affairs and philanthropy across a range of organizations with various policy and political views," said Bain Capital spokesman Alex Stanton.

- CNN's Adam Levy contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Fundraising • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Chipster

    A CEO must be successful financially but a President must solve problems for the nation without the option to discard the unprofitable or least profitable people. A CEO must raise money for stockholders and that might requiring firing people who are less productive than others. But a President has to solve problems for the nation and all of its people. A President must lift people who are poorly educated and provide oppourtunities for them to become better prepared to be productive members of our society. We need productive members to make our nation stronger. We are ALL stockholders!

    May 25, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Myviewis

    Oh, how I love this, this is really, really funny. Obama gets money from Bain Capital employees and Obama is going to keep Bain Capital money. This couldn't get better with Democrats. So Romney is not a job creator but the jobs he created for Bain Capital employees have produced money to donate to the Obama Campaign. And they said Romney is a Vampire who sucked the life out of people. I think Obama is the Vampire for keeping the money, he should return it since it is Badddddddddd Romney money.

    May 25, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. ddt

    CNN that is why your rates are so low based on the reports. You have failed to tell your listeners the truth why the president is asking your Ramney the experience he obtained from Bain. He has told you over and over that he is not attaking the company itself but Ramney the individual who is running for the presidency. That is why those employees donating to his reelectiom are not bothered by it. I'm suprised that it hurts you so much CNN

    May 25, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. Andy

    This article attempts to give the impression that these Bain employees, some of whom made max donations to Barack, did so in 2011 before the current attacks, or they wouldn't have donated. I think by Bain employees making donations to Barack they're telling us that we want no part of Mitt as president. Mitt has been running for president forever–that's why he didn't bother to run for a 2nd term as governor of MA so he could prepare his presidential run. So I have a feeling when these Bain employees contributed to Obama 2012, they already knew Mitt was running on the republican side. My guess is they won't be asking for the money back simply because it's exactly where they want it to be–fighting their former boss.

    May 25, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. Myviewis

    Democrats are really full of excuses. Democrats have no shame. Obama must return the money, no excuses. Remember, Bain Capital is badddddddddd.

    May 25, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. Myviewis

    Obama did say Bain Capital was fair game, he just didn't expect his campaign to run on some Bain Capital money. Romney must be laughing at these things that happen to Democrats.

    May 25, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. Myviewis

    Thank goodness Romney created all those jobs so that those people could have money to donate to the Obama campaign and by the way this shows that these employees are doing okay financially since they did have that cash to spare. Romney must be feeling pretty good about now that this people are okay financially.

    May 25, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. Len


    I agree with you 100%. Bain Capital did not create jobs just to create jobs. Their soul purpose is to revamp a company, whether the company becomes successful, closes down or has to fire people.....regardless of what happens....Bain walks away with millions of dollars. Please America, we made a terrible mistake in 2010.....Donot do it again in 2012.....Vote for Obama/Biden!!!!

    May 25, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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