Bain Capital’s 2016 Donations Are Enough To Make Mitt Romney Weep

When Bain Capital co-founder Mitt Romney ran for president in 2012, the Boston-based private equity firm’s employees largely lined up behind him with their campaign donations.

With their one-time boss sitting on the sidelines this time around, however, Bain executives and other employees have used their considerable wealth to back a very different candidate: Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Every Bain Capital employee who has donated to a presidential campaign so far this election cycle has contributed at least $2,500 to Clinton, according to the most recent federal campaign finance records. All but one has given her the maximum allowed under federal law, $2,700.

Granted, just nine employees have made contributions to date, and it’s early in the election. Among those who have supported Clinton thus far are Jonathan Lavine, managing partner and founder of Bain Capital affiliate Sankaty Advisors; Sally Fassler, Sankaty’s chief financial officer; and Bain Capital Chief Compliance Officer Alan Halfenger.

No donor who lists Bain Capital as his or her employer has given money to one of the many presidential candidates in the Republican field. (Perhaps they’re holding off until the Romney ‘16 rumors abate for good?) Just one has donated to a Democratic candidate other than Clinton, and that employee happens to be the former governor of Massachusetts. Deval Patrick, who joined the firm this spring to start a fund that focuses on companies with social missions, contributed $2,700 to Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley’s campaign, in addition to his donation to Clinton.

The donations to date are a far cry from where Bain employees’ dollars landed during the last presidential election. By this point in 2011, about three dozen Bain employees had donated to Romney’s campaign, compared with the seven who had contributed to President Barack Obama.

No employee who donated to Romney in 2012 has donated to Clinton in 2016. The Republicans on staff may be waiting until their party’s field winnows itself down.

So who were among the employees who donated to Romney’s opponent the last go-round? Lavine was one of them, as was Stephen Pagliuca, the Bain Capital managing director, Celtics co-owner and one-time Democratic candidate for a U.S. Senate seat. (Pagliuca has yet to make any contributions for 2016.) Another was Mark Nunnelly, the current Commissioner of Revenue in the Baker administration.

Employees of Bain & Co., the management consulting firm that Romney and his co-founders left to start Bain Capital, are also leaning heavily toward Clinton, though they have at least one Jeb Bush supporter in the mix. The two firms are separate entities but maintain close ties.

A Bain spokesman declined comment on the employees’ donations.

Source: Boston Business Journal, Greg Ryan
Photo: After supporting firm co-founder Mitt Romney in large numbers in 2012, Bain Capital employees have directed their donations toward Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the current election. (Jeff Kowalsky)