Private Equity’s Investment in Congress

Jeffrey ErnstFriedman | January 10, 2012

Jan. 10, 2012 - Mitt Romney's success at the Iowa caucus has carried over to New Hampshire, where he currently enjoys a comfortable lead in the polls over his opponents in that state's presidential primary. Looking to chip away at Romney's lead, his rivals are highlighting the former Massachusetts governor's time at Bain Capital, a private equity and investment firm, where they say Romney enjoyed profits at the expense of others' employment. In response to the negative attention, the Private Equity Growth Capital Council has released a statement highlighting what the trade association views as the upside of firms like Bain Capital. The press release, however, fails to mention how much members of Congress in both political parties have received from individuals connected to private equity firms.

  • From January 1, 2007 - June 30, 2011, PACs and individuals connected to Private Equity and Investment Firm interest groups have given over $17 million to lawmakers serving since the 109th Congress.
  • In that time period, Democrats have enjoyed a significant advantage, taking in $10,871,919, while their Republican counterparts received $6,553,793. Of the Democrats' total, Barack Obama accounts for $1,921,490 while his 2008 Republican opponent for the White House, Sen. John McCain, has accepted $1,246,575.

Click here to download a spreadsheet with contribution totals by lawmaker grouped by year. (Spreadsheet includes additional campaign contributions from January 1, 2001 - June 30, 2011 to legislators serving in the 109th, 110th, 111th and 112th Congresses.)

Below is an analysis conducted by MapLight of contributions from Private Equity and Investment Firms to members of Congress. Contribution industry classification provided by OpenSecrets.

YearRepublicanDemocratGrand Total
2007 $1,155,000 $3,533,265 $4,688,265
2008 $1,914,436 $2,622,166 $4,536,602
2009 $774,958 $2,086,534 $2,861,492
2010 $1,899,832 $1,656,053 $3,555,885
2011 $809,567 $973,901 $1,783,468
Grand Total $6,553,793 $10,871,919 $17,425,712

NOTE: Above figures include presidential campaign contributions to current or former members of Congress such as Michele Bachmann and Barack Obama.

Methodology: MapLight analysis of monetary and non-monetary contributions to candidate campaign committees of legislators serving since the 109th Congress, Jan. 1, 2007 - Jun. 30, 2011 from the Private Equity and Investment Firms industry as defined by Contributions data source: