Obama’s Bain Capital

While the President was bashing Bain Capital earlier this year as an “evil rich” private equity venture capital firm that destroyed businesses causing people to lose their jobs, and perhaps their lives, the White House was in secret negotiations with Carlyle Group, an “evil rich” private equity venture capital firm.

In 2011 Sunoco announced that it would close two refineries in Philadelphia and Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, citing $1 billion in losses in its refinery business over the past three years.

Closing the Philadelphia refinery, the largest on the East Coast, threatened to disrupt gasoline and heating-oil supplies in the Northeast.  A February 27 report from the federal Energy Information Administration warned of the potential for prices to ‘spike’…[White House] aides concluded gas prices could rise 20 to 30 cents a gallon in parts of the Northeast.

This would never do, particularly in an election year.  So, Gene Sperling, director of the President’s National Economic Council entered the picture and began working with both Sunoco and Carlyle to keep the refinery open.  In the end, Carlyle paid nothing for a two-thirds stake in the refinery, but agreed to invest at least $200 million dollars in plant upgrades.

Notice that is $200 million of private “evil rich” investors’ money, not your tax dollars.  If Carlyle can turn the refinery around, it will make money, and the 850 workers at the refinery will keep their jobs.  If not, the investors, not you, the taxpayer, will lose that money, and the workers will lose their jobs later, rather than now.  It’s a gamble, but only Carlyle was willing to take that gamble.

But, there was a hitch…the terms of a 2005 consent decree between the EPA and Sunoco concerning air pollution emitted by the refinery.  If Carlyle did any work on the plant it would have triggered costly environmental reviews, and with this administration, no doubt costly environmental upgrades.

So, the White house was able to make that go away via transferring “emission credits” from the Marcus Hook refinery to the Philadelphia refinery giving the Philadelphia refinery a greater license to pollute.


I can only assume that venture capitalism and pollution are perfectly ok if it’s an election year.


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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Plainvillian on September 3, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Don’t lefties always make laws and regulations apply to others?? Didn’t Governor Dannel PEE Malloy make the magic busway permitting process go through like a physic through a goose?? This is a surprise? ?

  2. sammy22 on September 3, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Surely the Northeast, e.g. CT would have been happy to pay 20-30 cents more per gallon if the Philadelphia refinery closed.

    • Dimsdale on September 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Where did you read that?? Did you actually read the article, or did you just want to drop a little bomb here?? Nobody, not even the greenest of libs, wants to pay more for fuel? (see cross border fuel sales by CT residents that vote wholeheartedly for liberals).? Or pay too many taxes for that matter.? The post is about the fact that the regime says one thing about the big bad venture capital firms, while working with them behind the scenes.? Kinda like the way they deal with Wall Street.
      It is about rank hypocrisy by this administration.

  3. stinkfoot on September 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I think that as a whole the general population has become pretty desensitized to our government lying.? It is hardly a shock to me that Obama negotiates with “evil rich”- clearly he’ using them as political foils when they are the only possible attendees at a $35,800 a plate fundraiser.? We got it.
    How about a detailed dissection of the “Affordable” Care Act whose second shoe will drop after there are no more votes to buy?? Pointing out where his hypocrisy is helping us isn’t likely to do much in the effort to make him ex-president.

  4. ABO (Romney/Ryan 2012) on September 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Isn’t this the same Carlyle Group?that bought and bankrupted Chrysler.??Now getting payback from President Empty Chair.?

  5. sammy22 on September 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Be glad the refinery will not shut down.

    • Dimsdale on September 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      The real shame is that we can’t count on it remaining open if the regime persists in power after November.? This is only to buy votes.

  6. ABO (Romney/Ryan 2012) on September 3, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    you think it won’t close after the election.? Carlyle has no investment? so there’s nothing to bind them to the deal.

  7. kateinmaine on September 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    and the minions focus on the getty part of the story. . .hide in plain site!

  8. kateinmaine on September 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    or sight–sheesh–what a day. . .

  9. sammy22 on September 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Hey ABO, who knows what happens after the election? Everybody has an agenda.

    • Dimsdale on September 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      Yes, one agenda that allows us to use our natural resources, creating jobs and securing energy resources for the country, and the other, intent on sequestering our energy behind green curtains while funding energy development by foreign countries who will sell it to us at a premium and only create jobs for their own citizens.

  10. wildcat on September 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I can’t help but wonder what Obama would have done if there was not this pesky election looming.? Seeing how he appears to envy Hugo Chavez’ totalitarian power, I suspect he would love to move to nationalize the refinery…. and as much of the dirty old fossil fuel production as he could get away with…..in the name of “saving it”? How else could he work to drive up energy costs to make the alternatives, particularly solar, more cost effective by comparison.? Then he could continue to reward his cronies with so-called green jobs under the cover of “clean energy.”? But, alas, timing is everything….and the election dictates all action right now.

  11. Tim-in-Alabama on September 4, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Love the Democrat viewpoint expressed here: So what if we’re lawless hypocrites. Be glad the refinery didn’t shut down.

  12. sammy22 on September 4, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Hypocrisy is in the eye of the beholder. Paul Ryan et al are? happy with the healthcare system they have voted for themselves only.

    • Dimsdale on September 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Bring it back to the refinery hypocrisy…..

  13. ABO (Romney/Ryan 2012) on September 4, 2012 at 10:46 am

    How does a refinery become so unprofitable that it needs shutting down and a 200 million dollar investment will work miracles

  14. JBS on September 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    There are more than a few reasons why this refinery was slated to close. It is the oldest in Sunoco’s portfolio, it has become unprofitable, its employees are union and it needed a large infusion of cash for capital improvements. Those are reasons to close, but why would an outside investment group put in $200 million?
    The Regime is fearful of gasoline prices climbing further. Closing this Philadelphia refinery would add 20 to 30 cents to gasoline in the Northeast. It is a union plant; union leaders lobbied the WH to keep the plant open. So far, the government has pledged $25 million in grants. So far.
    Speculation: This is a payoff to the Obama Regime by Carlyle Group. Upfront it will “cost” them $200 million but, they will have majority control. Read that as: with the government grants, Carlyle can sell the refinery after the election for a huge profit. In the meantime, they can operate the plant without regard to environmental regulations — it is old and polluting as refineries go, the majority of money is safe, and they will get lucrative favors in the future. Not to be dismissed will be? “the opportunity to issue tax-exempt bonds and the possibility of a tax-free zone.”
    All from a…

  15. Dimsdale on September 4, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    This is on the same order of vote buying hypocrisy as the use of the HHS slush fund to temporarily mask ?bamacare’s gutting of Medicare Advantage until the election is over.

    • JBS on September 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      Business as usual.

  16. ABO (Romney/Ryan 2012) on September 5, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Iwonder how many?empty chair bundlers are in the Carlyle ?Group since they are bending the rules

    • JBS on September 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Not as many as he needs.
      I just heard that the previously scheduled outdoor acceptance speech is being moved to an indoor venue. Because of the weather . . . moving from a 60k stadium to a 15k auditorium? . . . suspicious. Highly suspicious.
      Where are all of the adoring, Obama-trons going to get their fix? The weather! How convenient. Couldn’t fill the stadium with 60k+ wild-eyed supporters so move the whole thing inside to a space one-fourth or less the size. It’s just not 2008.
      Want to bet there will still be empty chairs, err, seats?

    • Lynn on September 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      Well ther will be at least one “empty seat” for the noted speaker.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., speaks about race during an address in Philadelphia, Tuesday, March 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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