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Bain Capital tops list of Romney's career political supporters

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Bain Capital, the private equity firm that Mitt Romney has touted as the source of his business acumen and one of his opponents for the Republican nomination has labeled "vultures" is the largest source of political money for the former Massachusetts governor over the course of his career.

Current and former executives and family members of Bain Capital have contributed more than $2.7 million to Romney's federal and state campaigns, federal and state leadership PACs, the Restore Our Future super PAC that supports Romney, and his gubernatorial inauguration fundraising committee.

Sunlight analyzed federal campaign finance data from the Center for Responsive Politics and state campaign finance data from the National Institute for Money in Politics, both accessed via InfluenceExlporer.com's bulk data page, IRS filings made by a series of state-level 527 organizations and published reports of donors to Romney's inaugural committee.

The Bain Capital totals do not include the more than $55.5 million that Romney has either personally contributed or loaned to his various electoral committees. Nor does it include the more than $200,000 from employees and family members of two of Bain's more successful companies--Staples and Domino's Pizza--that Romney has cited on the campaign trail.

Romney's other top political patrons include the Marriott Family and employees and family members of their hotel companies who've contributed more than $1.27 million; Steven J. Lund Jr. and employees and family members of Nu Skin Enterprises who've given more than $1.17 million; and John A. Paulson and employees and family members of his New York-based hedge fund, Paulson & Co., who have given more than $1 million.

Of Romney's top ten political patrons, four are in the financial sector--in addition to Bain Capital and Paulson & Co., are Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs ($899,000) and hedge fund Moore Capitol Management ($500,000), all of which came from one donation by the fund's founder, Louis Moore Bacon, to the Restore Our Future super PAC. Other top contributors who have made just a few contributions include Bob Perry of Perry Homes ($500,000 of the total given was a single contribution to Restore Our Future), John A. Paulson wrote a $1 million check to the Super PAC, and James S. Davis of New Balance Shoe contributed $500,000.

Some of the big contributions from Romney's top political patrons have come through shell companies. Ed Conard, a former managing director at Bain Capital, donated $1 million through W Spann LLC, a company that was dissolved soon after making the contribution. Eli Publishing, a Provo, Utah-based company, also contributed $1 million; Fox affiliate KSTU-TV reported that the company was run by Steve Lund, the Nu Skin co-founder and vice chairman. F8 LLC, which shares the same Provo address as Eli Publishing, also gave $1 million; its registered agent, attorney Jeremy Blickenstaff, is Lund's son-in-law and a former employee of Nu Skin.

Goldman Sachs was the only top donor that did not contribute to Restore Our Future; the firm's employees and family members have contributed steadily to Romney since his first Senate run in 1994. Romney also turned to the firm for a $2 million loan during his 2008 campaign, secured by assets he'd invested there.

Bain Capital, Goldman Sachs, the Marriott family and employees of their hotel companies, Lund and Nu Skin Enterprises and James S. Davis of New Balance Athletic Shoe have contributed to Romney since his 1994 run for Senate.

 

Romney's Career Political Patrons

Donors Amount
1. Bain Capital founders, employees and family members* $2,726,500
2. Marriott Family, Marriott International, Host Hotels and Resorts and predecessor companies 1,476,637
3. Steven J. Lund Jr. and Nu Skin Enterprises 1,174,801
4. John A. Paulson and Paulson & Co. 1,025,300
5. F8 LLC 1,000,000
6. Goldman Sachs 899,676
7. The Villages 790,950
8. James S. Davis and New Balance Athletic Shoe 555,550
9. Bob Perry and Perry Homes 520,250
10. Louis Bacon Moore, Moore Capitol Management 500,000

*--Includes contributions from Bain Capital founder William Bain and former managing director Ed Conard totaling $1,133,800. Romney has stated he knew Conard from their days at Bain Capital, though Conard was no longer with the firm at the time he made the contributions, which total $1,091,500. Excluding these contributions from the Bain Capital totals, Romney's top political patron would still be Bain Capital at $1,592,700, and Ed Conard, who also contributed to Commonwealth PAC-Alabama, Commonwealth PAC-Iowa, Commonwealth PAC-Mich and Commonwealth PAC-New Hampshire in addition to his $1 million contribution to Restore Our Future, would be Romney's fourth most generous patron, having given $1,091,500. Interestingly, at the time Conard was identified as the donor behind W. Spann LLC,  Romney said, "I sure was hoping he would make a contribution and was confident he would make a contribution. He had every campaign in the past." Yet Conard's name does not turn up in the itemized contributions Sunlight reviewed from prior years.

Analysis based on itemized contributions to Romney's 2008 presidential campaign, 2002 gubernatorial run, 1994 Senate campaign, 2012 presidential campaign through Sept. 30, 2011, to the Free and Strong Political Action Committee, to Commonwealth PAC-Alabama, Commonwealth PAC-Iowa, Commonwealth PAC-Michigan, Commonwealth PAC-New Hampshire and Commonwealth PAC-South Carolina, to the Restore Our Future indpendent expenditure committee, and reported contributions to Romney's Massachusetts Inaugural Committee.