No need to wonder any longer why Romney has been so reluctant to criticize Limbaugh over his “slut” comment. The Daily Beast:
Fourteen directors of Clear Channel, the company that hosts the Rush Limbaugh show, have contributed $726,400 to Mitt Romney since 1994, most of it in the current presidential campaign. Romney has come under attack for refusing to criticize Limbaugh’s comments about Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, other than to say that calling her a “slut” and a “prostitute” was “not the language I would have used.”
Romney’s former company, Bain Capital, acquired Clear Channel in 2008 with another Boston-based investment firm, Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL), so five of the entertainment company’s directors that have given to Romney come from Bain, while three are affiliated with the Lee firm. Three other directors are members of the Mays family that founded the company and continued to run it until 2011, when CEO Mark Mays stepped down. The remaining three donor directors come from other investment firms.
The $26 billion merger, which was launched simultaneously with Romney’s first presidential candidacy in late 2006 and placed Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and much of the talk-show right under Bain/Lee control, also involved Romney’s longtime law firm, Ropes & Gray, whose managing partner is the trustee of the family’s blind trust. David C. Chapin, a lead Ropes lawyer on the merger, has also given $12,700 to Romney, and five other partners who worked on it added another $10,400.
While Bain partners, employees and family members, including the Clear Channel directors, have given a combined $4.7 million to Romney’s two presidential campaigns, THL also has a long history of Romney support, with some donations dating back to Romney’s first, unsuccessful run against Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994. THL tallies $180,300 including its Putnam affiliate and led by its co-chairs, Scott Schoen, Anthony Dinovi, and Scott Sperling. With Sperling’s wife and son contributing as well, Sperling has donated $25,100 to Romney, starting in 1994. In The Real Romney, the recent biography written by Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, Sperling is credited with spearheading “the biggest investment of Romney’s career,” the highly lucrative purchase and quick sale of a credit company named Experian. Sperling is a Clear Channel director, and THL and Bain are deeply invested in the company, one of the largest deals ever done by either equity firm.