Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R) past as an executive at Bain Capital has faced scrutiny from his fellow Republican presidential candidates, who have raised questions about the firm’s propensity to send companies into bankruptcy and lay off workers — all while investors made millions of dollars. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) slammed Romney as a “vulture capitalist” in South Carolina yesterday, and a super PAC supporting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) released a 27-minute video about Romney’s history at Bain.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) attempted to rebut those attacks today, telling Fox & Friends that Gingrich and Perry’s attacks were reflective of “total ignorant populist view of the economy that was proven incorrect with the Soviet Union and Chinese Communism.”
GIULIANI: I’m outraged about what he and Rick, who is a very close friend of mine, I’m shocked what they’re doing. It’s ignorant, dumb. It is building something we should be fighting in America, ignorance of the American economic system. Playing on the dumbest, most ridiculous ideas about how you grow jobs. [...] You get rid of venture capital and private equity, you get rid of risk taking, which is what it’s about, risk taking, Romney was a risk taker. [...] And the stuff you’re saying is one of the reasons we’re in the trouble we’re in right now. This total, ignorant, populist view of the economy that was proven to be incorrect with the Soviet Union, with Chinese Communism.
Giuliani’s eagerness to defend venture capitalism, private equity, and hedge funds from legitimate questions may be because he has a history in private equity himself. As Forbes noted yesterday, Giuliani was chairman of the advisory board of a private equity fund now known as Leeds Private Equity Partners. According to a 2002 press release from Giuliani Partners, Leeds Weld, as it was then known, was “the largest private equity fund in the United States focused on investments in the education, information and training industry.”
In 2003, Giuliani partnered with financial giant Bear Stearns to launch a private equity fund focused on the security and public safety industries. And during his 2008 run for president, Giuliani was a favorite of the hedge fund and private equity industries — according to OpenSecrets.org, Giuliani took more than $1.1 million from hedge funds and private equity firms in the first three fundraising quarters of 2007, more than any other candidate, Romney included.