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No Bainer: Obama's New Budget Chief Worked for a Bain Company, Too


WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) -- President Barack Obama on Tuesday named Jeffrey Zients as his acting budget chief but held off on nominating him for the permanent job, avoiding a tough election-year battle with Senate Republicans. It's an appointment, however, that will likely be criticized given Zients's past.

Zients becomes acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, the department in charge of developing Obama's budget proposal, overseeing agency performance and ensuring that the executive branch is putting in place Obama's policies. He takes over leadership of the prominent agency just weeks ahead of Obama's new budget request to Congress.

Zients had been the office's deputy director for management and has already served one stint as acting director, too.

He takes over for Jack Lew, named by Obama as White House chief of staff to replace the departing William Daley.

But what some might be interested to know is that Zients actually worked at the much-maligned company Bain Capital Bain & Company -- which is different from Bain Capital, but still one of the same companies Mitt Romney once ran, and which has been the topic of several attacks by both Republicans and Democrats.* The Washington Times has more:

Romney worked at Bain & Company, first from 1977-1984, and then again from 1991 and 1992, when he was the Bain & Company chief executive officer.


Bain & Company says that Zients worked there from August 1988 to June 1990. Romney apparently returned to Bain & Company from Bain Capital in January 1991, so they missed each other by six months.

President Obama's top campaign strategist, David Axelrod, criticized Romney for having a "Bain mentality," just as some of Romney's Republican presidential election rivals have blamed him for layoffs that took place at companies that Bain Capital financed.

No Senate confirmation is required for an acting director. Zients was confirmed by the Senate for the deputy job, but any major Obama nomination in this election year is likely to face a fight from Republicans. The White House said Obama has made no decision on a permanent director.


Wes writes The Blaze:

Your article from today is inaccurate in its headline and content when it states that Jeffrey Zients worked for Bain Capital (the Private Equity firm -- http://www.baincapital.com). He worked for Bain & Company (the consulting firm -- http://www.bain.com). The Washington Times article does make this distinction, though poorly. While Mitt Romney worked at both firms, and he and the other Bain Capital founders were formerly Bain & Company consultants, they are different firms that do different work. Bain & Company provides consulting services to client companies. Bain Capital raises private capital to make investments in companies, often through leveraged buyouts – some of the practices associated with the private equity business model are those which have has been the subject of ridicule for Mitt Romney. As a former employee of Bain & Company, this is an important distinction. It’s bad enough that one business is being villainized without complete understanding; it’s even more frustrating that a separate business (and its alumni) are being inaccurately lumped in.

Good point, Wes. We've updated the article to reflect that.

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