The chairman of Bain Capital, the infamous venture capital firm excoriated by Democrats during the 2012 election for outsourcing American jobs, is putting big money behind a Super PAC working to elect former Vice President Joe Biden.
Joshua Bekenstein, who was one of the founders of the firm alongside Mitt Romney and now serves as its chairman, donated $250,000 to Unite the Country at the start of April, according to the Super PAC’s Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. On the same day that donation was made, Bekenstein’s wife, Anita, contributed a further $250,000, raising the couple’s total to half a million dollars. Bekenstein and his wife have also each contributed the max amount of $5,600 to Biden’s official 2020 campaign.
The Bain chairman is not the only one from his firm supporting Biden, at least financially. A review of the former vice president’s FEC filings indicates at least eight other Bain executives have maxed out to Biden’s primary campaign since he entered the race last April. Among the lists are a number of high-ranking members of Bain’s leadership team, including Jonathan Lavine, the firm’s co-managing partner, and Ian Loring, one of its managing directors. Both Loring and Lavine have been with the firm since the early 1990s when Romney was at the helm.
Overall, outside of the $500,000 donated by Bekenstein to Unite the Country, Bain’s senior leadership has donated more than $25,000 to Biden’s official campaign account over the past year. The number, though, could be far higher when the Biden campaign’s nearly $43.7 million fundraising haul for the month of April is taken into account. It also does not take into account spouses of the firm’s employees, who, as in Bekenstein’s case, also donated, or individuals associated with the firm but not on its official employee rosters, such as lobbyists and outside contractors.
Biden has accepted the money even though he helped lead the charge against Bain’s business practices during the 2012 presidential election. At the time, Biden, along with other members of the Obama campaign, accused Romney of practicing a predatory form of capitalism. The attack was centered on Bain’s business model, which largely focused on buying up struggling companies, loading them up with debt to pay off investors, and then forcing them to reduce costs, either by offshoring or cutting jobs, in order to remain afloat. Many of the businesses, which had been healthy prior to their acquisition by Bain, would end up being shut down or sold off in parts to further increase profits.
The criticism was particularly effective as America was still attempting to reemerge from the collapse of the housing market and the Great Recession that followed.
Among members of the Obama campaign, few were more successful at raising the issue on Bain than Biden. Time and again the then-vice president would fly into a locale, usually in the Midwest or industrial Northeast, and lambast Romney’s Bain-orientated view of economics while contrasting it with the Obama administration’s support for the middle class.
“You hear all these stories about his partners buying companies … where they load up with a tremendous amount of debt,” Biden told supporters at a rally in New Hampshire in May 2012. Further claiming that under Bain’s model “companies go under, everybody loses their job, the community is devastated, but they make money. They make money even when a company goes bankrupt, when workers lose their jobs.”
Biden even made his attacks on the company a focal point of his speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention, telling delegates America could not afford to have a president who thinks in “terms of balance sheets and write-offs” when the economy was still impacted by the recession.
“Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profits,” Biden said upon renomination as vice president. “But it’s not the way to lead our country from the highest office.”