By Joe Coscarelli
GOP hundred-millionaire Mitt Romney made his fortune with the private equity firm Bain Capital, and thanks to an excellent retirement package, he's never really stopped reaping the profits. While Rick Perry's questionable "retirement" pays him a pension of $7,698 per month, Romney's setup has earned him millions since his 1999 retirement from Bain, when he made the shift to public servant. According to the New York Times, Romney "received a share of the corporate buyout and investment profits enjoyed by partners from all Bain deals through February 2009: four global buyout funds and 18 other funds, more than twice as many over all as Mr. Romney had a share of the year he left. He was also given the right to invest his own money alongside his former partners. Because some of the funds and deals covered by Mr. Romney’s agreement will not fully wind down for several years, Mr. Romney is still entitled to a share of some of Bain’s profits."
The companies bought and restructured by Bain, as explored previously by this magazine, suffered large-scale layoffs as the men at the top continued to get rich. And thanks to Romney's forward-looking retirement agreement, "much of his income from the arrangement has probably qualified for a lower tax rate than ordinary income under a tax provision favorable to hedge fund and private equity managers, which has become a point of contention in the battle over economic inequality."
If Romney becomes president, he'll likely have to deal with what he has now: "federal officeholders are not permitted to hold such private equity and hedge fund investments. If elected, Mr. Romney would most likely have to unwind his stakes in all Bain funds."
But as much as Romney earned post-Bain, he could have had even more if the firm had gone public or he'd fought harder instead of wanting "a quick move into public life." Says a former Bain Partner: "He made a very sweet deal, he had a very good exit. But my guess is, given the actual economic value of Bain Capital at the time, Mitt walked away with less than he could have if he did not take into account the adverse publicity and attention that a battle with former partners would have caused if he had negotiated and played hardball." So he's a saint, basically.