Workers in Boston’s private equity industry are growing miffed that their business has become a dirty word in the Republican presidential campaign because former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is under attack for once working in the business.
Look no further than this rebuke from Texas Gov. Rick Perry in South Carolina:
"I understand the difference between venture capital and vulture capitalism!"
The indignation at such attacks runs especially deep at Bain Capital, the private equity firm started by Romney.
Romney’s former colleagues at Bain have been notoriously quiet. Until now.
"To suggest that venture capital is somehow bad for our economy is ludicrous. It’s the purest form of job creation and the driver of innovation in our country."Jamie Goldstein
The firm’s managing director, Steve Pagliuca, says the charges of looting companies and destroying jobs are "hyperbolic." The former Senate candidate says he’s extremely proud of Bain’s record of building and growing great companies.
Geoff Rehnert worked with Romney at Bain Capital from the very start in 1984.
"American business was inefficient," Rehnert says."There were poorly run companies that needed to be restructured. Private equity didn’t create that dynamic."
The industry’s trade group in Washington is launching a campaign of online ads and video testimonials. Venture capitalists feel like they’re being dragged into the mudslinging, too.
Jamie Goldstein, a partner at the Boston venture capital firm North Bridge, says this kind of investment is not bad for the economy.
"To suggest that venture capital is somehow bad for our economy is ludicrous," Goldstein says. "It’s the purest form of job creation and the driver of innovation in our country."
Many in these industries expected Romney’s private equity pedigree to come up on the campaign trail. They’re just surprised that it’s pro-business Republicans who are making those ties an issue.
This program aired on January 12, 2012.