We’re not really into conspiracy theories here, so let us just say this upfront: We are not presenting the following article as any kind of conspiracy theory. We will say, though, that the people who own voting machines in some pretty important swing states have a pretty remarkable bias toward Mitt Romney and, you know, someone should probably keep an eye on this, no? Okay, so here’s what we know: Hart InterCivic is a national provider of election voting systems that are used in swing-states Ohio and Colorado, as well as in states we don’t really care about so much because we already know how they’ll turn out (e.g., Texas, Oklahoma, and Hawaii). Private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, LLC bought out a “significant” portion of Hart in July of 2011, and now the majority of Hart’s board directors are employees of H.I.G. (It’s not entirely clear how much of the voting machine company H.I.G. owns, but the financial advisors responsible for the transaction state that “Hart Intercivic was acquired by HIG Capital.”) H.I.G., in turn, has ties to Bain & Co. and Mitt Romney directly: H.I.G. was founded by Tony Tamer, a former Bain employee and bundler for Mitt Romney’s campaign. Of H.I.G.’s 22 American directors, 21 donated to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. One person made no political donations at all; one person donated to both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama; the remaining 20 directors donated exclusively to Mitt Romney in 2012. (See below for links to donations.) Of these 22 American directors, seven of them (nearly one-third) are former Bain employees. Now, we should note (as a reader helpfully pointed out), this is Bain & Co., which Mitt Romney left in order to start the affiliated Bain Capital. The connection is therefore a little more tenuous, but we still find H.I.G.’s overwhelming allegiance and financial support of the Romney campaign surprising (not that it’s surprising that a private equity company would lean Republican, but this level of support is pretty unusual). Four of H.I.G.’s directors, Tony Tamer, John Bolduc, Douglas Berman, and Brian D. Schwartz, are Romney bundlers along with former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve. Two of H.I.G.’s managing directors, Douglas F. Berman and Brian D. Schwartz, were present at the $50,000 per plate fundraiser where Mitt Romney made his notorious ”47%” comments. H.I.G. employees currently make up the majority of the Hart InterCivic’s five-member board of directors. Two of these three directors of the voting machine company, Neil Tuch and Jeff Bohl, have donated directly to Mitt Romney’s campaign. H.I.G. is the 11th largest donor to Mitt Romney’s campaign. H.I.G. employees have given $338,000 to the Romney campaign, outpacing even Bain Capital itself, which gave $268,000. (Sidenote: Are we the only ones to notice that every single one of H.I.G.’s 22 American directors is white and male? Not related to the Mitt Romney issue, but sheesh.) Now, to be fair, besides the fact that H.I.G. employees make up the majority of Hart’s board of directors, we don’t know exactly how much control H.I.G. is able to exert over the voting machine company’s day-to-day operations. Plus, it seems like it would be pretty difficult to mess with the software without anyone finding out about it. Moreover, just from a cost-benefit standpoint, it doesn’t really make sense that these H.I.G. directors would commit a felony and risk their super-lucrative careers just to get their Bain bro elected. But that said, this still makes us a little… uncomfortable. For instance, what if irregularities or honest mistakes are suspected (and this is a real possibility: Hart InterCivic has previously had some pretty major malfunctions in its voting systems)? The documentation will then be in the hands of Hart/H.I.G.
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