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Many links between government and private equity

By Laurie Bennett

May 26, 2012 at 11:16am

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will no doubt argue for the next six months about whether executive experience at Bain Capital makes someone a job creator.

But the question of whether there’s a connection between private equity and government leadership has already been settled.

There’s a long tradition in America of people going back and force between the two spheres.

The Muckety map above is a good sample, although it certainly doesn’t show every such connection.

At the center are six major private equity firms - Cerberus Capital Management, Hellman & Friedman, Blackstone Group, KKR, General Atlantic and Warburg Pincus.

The next ring, of salmon-colored boxes, shows individuals who have worked at these firms and in government. (To fully explore the map, we recommend viewing the large version.)

The outermost orbit, of blue boxes, shows those government connections.

What’s also clear is that private equity ties have existed regardless of which party is in the Oval Office.

John Snow and George W. Bush
John Snow and George W. Bush

The roads to Treasury and Commerce are especially well traveled. Jeffrey Goldstein, named Treasury under secretary by Obama in 2010, came from Hellman & Friedman and returned there after resigning his government post last year.

John Snow, Treasury secretary under George W. Bush, is now chairman of Cerberus Capital Management. Another Treasury secretary during the Bush administration, Paul O’Neill, is special adviser to Blackstone.

John Bryson, appointed Commerce secretary by Obama last year, is a former senior advisor to KKR. Another former Commerce secretary, billionaire Peter Peterson, is a co-founder of Blackstone.

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