Bruce's "Binders" Moment: Billionaire Provides Too-Familiar Explanation for Shocking Lack of Diversity at His Venture Capital Firm
After a review that found the venture capital firm he founded had not a single African-American in top positions, only a single Latino and six women out of 51 total honchos, billionaire Bruce Rauner resorted to an explanation recalling the “binders full of women” comments of his fellow Bain Capital alumnus Mitt Romney.
Asked in an interview last month about the shocking lack of diversity at the firm he founded and captained for 32 years, following a review of his company’s own website, Rauner told Charles Thomas of Chicago’s ABC-7 that, “We weren’t finding the folks that – that, uh, – you know, that weren’t there.”
During the 2012 presidential debates, Romney was asked what steps he took attract diverse applicants during his time as Massachusetts governor, and said he was brought “whole binders full of women” by women’s groups.
In the WLS report, meanwhile, it’s not clear what steps Rauner himself even took to recruit and retain women and people of color at his firm.
Said Ariel Investments founder John Rogers: “I think it’s not a good excuse, that you can’t find any.”
Watch the full report here.
ANCHOR: Another controversy in the race for Illinois governor. Pat Quinn supporters are now questioning Republican candidate Bruce Rauner’s commitment to diversity because of hiring at the firm that Rauner left when he announced he was running. Charles Thomas joins us with more about that.
CHARLES THOMAS: There is air and ground political combat for the black and Latino vote. this year, the Republican candidate for governor is not conceding it as Democrats make every effort to keep their hold on it. Chances are you have seen the commercials featuring minorities who say they plan to vote for Republican Bruce Rauner. To unseat incumbent Pat Quinn, the wealthy businessman must lessen the Democrat’s support among African-American and Latino voters, who Rauner has courted with his ad campaign.
MARTY CASTRO: The thing to look at is what were you doing when no one was watching? When you weren’t running?
CHARLES THOMAS: Attorney Marty Castro is a Quinn supporter who also chairs the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He reviewed the website of GTCR, the private equity firm Rauner ran for decades and counted few minorities.
MARTY CASTRO: You look at that leadership team, the executive team, and see ZERO African-Americans, one Hispanic.
BRUCE RAUNER (ABC INTERVIEW, 5/17): We were frustrated. We weren’t finding the folks that — that, uh — you know, that weren’t there.
JOHN ROGERS: I think that’s not a good excuse, that you can’t find any.
CHARLES THOMAS: Ariel Investments chairman John Rogers, who has not endorsed either candidate, is skeptical of any corporate leader who in this day and agehas not hired a diverse workforce.
JOHN ROGERS: It at least has to make you question the commitment of that individual.
CHARLES THOMAS: But retired Ernst& Young executive Tony Anderson, a Rauner supporter, says the candidate’s critics are trying to distract attention from the real issue.
TONY ANDERSON: If you think about what has happened to the black community over the last 20 years, what’s changed? You tell me what’s changed.
CHARLES THOMAS: Rauner says he wants to run state government more like a business.
BRUCE RAUNER (ABC INTERVIEW, 5/17): When I say I want to run it like a business, I want to deliver those results. and we can have people of all backgrounds involved.
MARTY CASTRO: I really believe that that conduct is the best indicator of future conduct.
CHARLES THOMAS: The Rauner campaign also noted that its lieutenant governor candidate is Evelyn Sanguinetti, a Latina. This of course will be a centerpiece issue throughout the summer and fall in the fight for the black and brown vote.