THE BAIN MUTINY: Money Changes Everything

[Artwork by MEATHEAD]

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Mayor Cory Booker to the long list of political stand-ins for both President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney who’ve veered wildly off message in a presidential contest notable for its attention-grabbing gaffes. An Obama backer, Booker forced the president’s campaign into damage-control mode over the weekend when he called its attack on Romney’s tenure at a private equity firm “nauseating.” It didn’t take long for Republicans to highlight the comment and for the Democratic mayor to try to clean up the mess he caused by releasing a YouTube video in which he said it was fair for Obama to make Romney’s business record a campaign issue. MORE

RELATED: The GOP’s I Stand With Cory web site/petition

THINK PROGRESS: A ThinkProgress examination of New Jersey campaign finance records for Booker’s first run for Mayor — back in 2002 — suggests a possible reason for his unease with attacks on Bain Capital and venture capital. They were among his earliest and most generous backers. Contributions to his 2002 campaign from venture capitalists, investors, and big Wall Street bankers brought him more than $115,000 for his 2002 campaign. Among those contributing to his campaign were John Connaughton ($2,000), Steve Pagliuca ($2,200), Jonathan Lavine ($1,000) — all of Bain Capital. While the forms are not totally clear, it appears the campaign raised less than $800,000 total, making this a significant percentage. He and his slate also jointly raised funds for the “Booker Team for Newark” joint committee. They received more than $450,000 for the 2002 campaign from the sector — including a pair of $15,400 contributions from Bain Capital Managing Directors Joshua Bekenstein and Mark Nunnelly. It appears that for the initial campaign and runoff, the slate raised less than $4 million — again making this a sizable chunk. In all — just in his first Mayoral run — Booker’s committees received more than $565,000 from the people he was defending. At least $36,000 of that came from folks at Romney’s old firm. MORE

JEFF DEENEY: He’s always been a neolib technocrat (like Obama, ironically), and ultimately at the end of the day he’s a proud Stanford Man, which means Wall Street is comprised of his former classmates and they see the world through the same lens, applied to different sectors.  He was always this way, that’s why he was such a hard sell for Newark and was beaten in his first election by a machine politician of Marion Barry-esque epic corruption; he wasn’t passing the smell test with the neighborhood oldheads.  He always figured he would bring them around when the saw what elite education and connections can do for a poor city. Results are mixed, but at this point, having paid dues, he’s thinking senate, eventually President, which is more in line with his own estimation of himself, anyway. Nutter isn’t very different; a Wharton guy at the end of the day. Better than Street, perhaps, but would Street have plugged a bomb in the school system and handed the fragments over to corporate privatizers?  Would love to hear what Nutter thinks about private equity; I suspect the same as Booker. Despite the fact that Wall Street nearly willfully annihilated itself, creating even more massive inequality in doing so, and this should defacto discredit the entire neoliberal experiment, most persistent in the assumption that marker forces applied in every sector is the way to a better world.