You are viewing the NationofChange archives. For the latest news and actions, visit the new www.NationofChange.org.
Thursday, October 30, 2014 / PROGRESSIVE JOURNALISM FOR POSITIVE ACTION
Get Email Updates | Log In | Register

Joe Conason
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Thursday 31 May 2012
“But whatever he says about capital, the Newark mayor also knows that it takes a lot of money to win public office, like the U.S. Senate seat that may be in his future.”

Why Cory Booker got Bain Capital so Wrong

Article image

Cory Booker's emotional televised plea to “stop attacking private equity” may have been the single greatest service he could perform for the Romney campaign. His immediate attempt to revise his remarks on behalf of President Obama, for whom he is supposed to act as a surrogate, only highlighted his earlier insistence that the harsh campaign criticism of Bain Capital, which he specifically defended, is “nauseating.”

But the Newark mayor's feelings must be influenced by his own relationship with Wall Street, private equity and Bain. America's financial titans have been very, very good to him.

Although Booker undoubtedly knows that Bain is fair game — as he later acknowledged, going so far as to accuse Mitt Romney of "not being completely honest" about job creation there — his initial remarks were obviously sincere. He tried to equate negative advertising about Bain with the Republican disinterment of the embarrassing Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and went on to denounce the impact of "this unbelievable amount of campaign cash that's eroding, in my opinion, the democracy, but more important, pulling our campaigns in the gutter."

Even a cursory examination of Booker's own political history shows, however, that he has never hesitated to use negative advertising against his opponents, when necessary — and that his own remarkable rise to power in Newark was funded by overwhelming infusions of cash to pay for those ads.

The first time he ran for mayor and lost in 2002, Booker was heavily outspent by then-Mayor Sharpe James — later sent to prison in a federal corruption probe — but managed to raise and spend almost $2 million, much of which he used on ads attacking the incumbent. Four years later, thanks in part to “Street Fight,” a superb documentary film about the first race that might be considered the longest negative ad in history, Booker won easily, with a massive $6 million war chest against a struggling opponent who raised less than $200,000.

When Booker ran for his second term in 2010, he faced token opposition but raised more than $7.5 million, largely from the same Wall Street and private equity financiers that have always been his primary source of outside support. Glancing at his campaign filings from that race, it is easy to find not only major donors from Bain and other private equity firms, but big Romney backers such as Julian Robertson of Tiger Capital Management and Paul Singer of Elliot Capital Advisers, each of whom has given the Republican candidate at least $1 million in this cycle. Both Robertson and Singer gave the maximum $26,000 to Booker's campaign.

Among the Bain Capital donors to Booker's 2010 campaign were Joshua Beckenstein, who also gave the maximum $26,000, and Jonathan Lavine, who gave $25,000. Other top donors included members of the Curry family, who run Eagle Capital Management (and close relatives of Marshall Curry, the director of “Street Fight”) and gave a total of $78,000. The full list, which also includes large donations from executives at Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, can be found here.

Surely Booker is aware of the costs as well as the benefits of private equity — and its mixed record as an engine of job creation. He is far too smart and experienced to misunderstand private equity's true purpose, which is to create wealth, not employment. And Booker certainly knows that when Romney presents himself as a businessman who can revive America's fragile economy, it is fair to mention how Bain profited from loading up companies with debt and ripping off the proceeds while laying off thousands of workers.

But whatever he says about capital, the Newark mayor also knows that it takes a lot of money to win public office, like the U.S. Senate seat that may be in his future. What everyone else should know is that he expects to raise that campaign money from the same people and firms that have backed him from the beginning.

Copyright Creators.com


ABOUT Joe Conason

Joe Conason has written his popular political column for The New York Observer since 1992. He served as the Manhattan Weekly’s executive editor from 1992 to 1997. Since 1998, he has also written a column that is among the most widely read features on Salon.com. Conason is also a senior fellow at The Nation Institute.

how dare booker get off the

how dare booker get off the reservation

Cory... WTF were you

Cory... WTF were you thinking? You need a better math teacher if you are going to equate what our president says to what the challengers are projecting. You are just promoting the false equivalence that the neocons claim. IT IS NOT TRUE!
You are drinking their Kool-Aid!

This is another perfect

This is another perfect exampleof exactly why we need publicly financed elections. When the dirty moeny gets into politics the politics gets dirty. We have people who we admired once acting like repugnants when they should be screaming at the corporations that fled this country taking jobs with them.

Booker is just another

Booker is just another employee of the criminal Wall Street enterprise just like Obama.

When Private Equity/Vulture

When Private Equity/Vulture Capitalism Money Talks, Corey Booker Listens -- he knows who bought him his elected public office and who will take care of him with perpetual wealth when he leaves politics for a career in private equity/vulturee capitalism.

Comment with your Facebook account



Comment with your Disqus account

Top Stories

comments powered by Disqus

NationofChange works to educate, inform, and fight power with people, corruption with community.

If you would like to stay up to date with the best in independent, filter-free journalism, updates on upcoming events to attend, and more, enter your email below:

7 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Support NationofChange

Our readers often tell us why they’ve decided to step up and become supporters. Here are some of the top reasons people are giving.

1. You’re keeping independent journalism alive
The corporate owned media has proven that it can’t be trusted. In a media landscape wrought with spin and corruption, NationofChange stands in very scarce company.

2. You’re sticking it to the rich, powerful, and corrupt
When you have money in this country you can get away with damn near anything, and they do. NationofChange isn’t afraid to expose these criminals no matter how powerful they are.

3. Your donation is 100% tax-deductible
NationofChange is a 501(c)3 charity. People tend to assume that many other organizations are (most nonprofits are NOT) but it’s that 501(c)3 status is a bit more rare than you think.

Read the rest...