A private equity company run by fervent supporters of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney bought the third-largest voting machine company in the country last July, raising concerns about the appearance of impropriety, if not the possibility of impropriety itself. Apprehension that Romney supporters could be literally buying votes has been burbling on left-wing blogs since Freepress.org, an alternative website based in Columbus, Ohio, reported late last month about H.I.G Capital’s purchase of Hart Intercivic [sic].Because the names are so similar, here’s a scorecard. Hart InterCivic is a manufacturing company; it’s all they do. H.I.G Capital is a private equity fund that purchases companies; it’s all they do. (Hm, a buyer of companies and a maker of things. Guess who’s king in that world?)
H.I.G. Capital is a Miami-based private equity fund that manages $8.5 billion in capital. Hart Intercivic is a company exclusively in the business of manufacturing and programming voting systems.
After the expected (and totally necessary) disclaimer from the H.I.G. ”crisis communications consultant” — already? think they’re gearing up for a fight over this? — that H.I.G. is not up to no good, Froomkin tells why they might be (up to no good):
H.I.G. Capital’s co-founder, Anthony Tamer, previously worked at Bain & Company…. Eight of the company’s managing directors came from Bain as well. Tamer and his wife are major Romney donors … And Tamer has plenty of company at H.I.G. Although it isn’t a particularly big firm, H.I.G.’s directors have collectively given so much money to Romney that their company is the sixth biggest contributor to all Romney committees, as calculated by opensecrets.org.Why does this matter? Aside from the obvious reasons, Ohio:
One of the jurisdictions with Hart Intercivic equipment is Hamilton County — which includes Cincinnati, the third-largest city in the hotly contested swing state of Ohio.There’s plenty more; do read on. A number of experts are interviews for this rather complete article.
How to think about this? Of course, this could just be your innocent dinosaur-eats-dinosaur deal, corp-on-corp feeding, in which the only motive is the feast (i.e., making more money). And there are a number of sources in the article that do raise the “don’t jump to conclusions” flag.
Still, others are quite suspicious. Think about it — repugicans. Voting machines. Bain. Ohio. Cause for concern? Many say yes.
Me, I start wondering — at what tipping point will the toxic combo of repugican cheating, a narrow Romney win, and much suspicion, cause the real left to be told by our faux-left Democratic friends, “Don’t you dare think of Romney as not the rightful president”? Not that I don’t think the election isn’t still in the bag; it’s just that the bag has gotten smaller.
About this last point, more later. For now, watch the Hamilton County (Cincinnati) vote total on election night. And if Obama’s vote count is low enough to pull his state-wide total into the loss column, watch the media say a whole lot of nothing about the possibility of a ballot-box fix.