For Immediate Release
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
California's Bain Capital Connection: "Vulture Capitalists" Funding
GOP Pension "Reform" Measure Have Ties to Romney's Company
SACRAMENTO -- Nearly 60 percent of the contributions to a political committee that hopes to put two pension measures on November ballot come from three Silicon Valley venture capital firms, including one tied to Bain & Company, the controversial firm formerly headed by Mitt Romney whose practices of terminating workers and businesses has become a major issue in the Republican presidential campaign.
According to records filed with the California Secretary of State, "California Pension Reform" has collected $128,000, including $25,000 from Jesse Rogers. Mr. Rogers, who is the co-founder of Palo Alto-based Altamont Capital Partners, spent 16 years (1984-2000) at Bain & Company. According to the bio on the Altamont website, Mr. Rogers "founded, built, and served as the Global Head of Bain's Private Equity Group...He also served as the West Coast head of Bain's consumer products practice. He was a Director and was elected to the firm's Governance Committee." (Mr. Rogers was at the firm during the same time period that Mitt Romney was CEO of the company.)
Two other Silicon Valley venture capitalists contributed $25,000. They both are Managing Directors at the same firm, Sutter Hill Ventures, also based in Palo Alto.
"It's bad enough that these vulture capitalists have a track record of putting people out of work, but now they also want to strip millions of Californians of a secure retirement," said Dave Low, Chairman of Californians for Retirement Security, a 1.6 million member coalition of teachers, firefighters, school employees, police officers, and retire public employees. "Their pension proposals will have the same effect of what Mitt Romney while did at Bain Capital: punish working people and create financial hardship for the middle class while rewarding CEOs with excessive salaries and perks."
In its review in late December, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst (LAO) reported that both of the ballot measures being funded by the venture capitalists would cost California taxpayers more than $1 billion per year for the next 30 years. The LAO also noted they were likely unconstitutional and would face legal challenges, and would not result in any short-term state budget savings.
The group sponsoring the measure, led by ex-Schwarzenegger aide Dan Pellissier, has 142 days to collect 807,615 signatures from registered voters to qualify one of the two measures they are proposing for the November ballot. According to independent analysts, it will cost approximately $2 million to qualify the measure.
"These sloppily-written measures are turkeys that will be bad for taxpayers and bad for the state's middle class," added Low. "Now that the LAO has concluded that they are costly and fraught with legal and constitutional problems, it would be silly for campaign contributors to put this on the ballot. The proper way to address abuses in the pension system is at the bargaining table and through the effort being made in the Legislature, not with flawed ballot box proposals."
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