Mitt Romney’s recent buyout of the small, grassroots organization Virginia Voters for Romney has left even strong supporters of the Republican presidential candidate scratching their heads. The move came even as criticisms of Romney’s previous role as the co-founder of private-equity firm Bain Capital have continued to plague him throughout his campaign. Although Romney has long claimed that his work at Bain Capital helped create jobs, the validity of this assertion has been widely disputed.
A source close to the Romney campaign has defended his actions, calling them “necessary for the viability and fiscal future of Virginia Voters for Romney, which suffered from poor management, a mishandled budget and a disturbing lack of vision.” They assured critics that Romney’s high-level management would boost organizational efficiency and drive increased profitability for shareholders.
In an effort to defuse the controversy, Romney referred to the incident during a campaign stop at a community college near Roanoke last week. “Do you know that before each meeting of the Virginia Voters, the group was sending one of its members out to buy coffees for everyone?” He asked incredulously. “Instead of just investing in a coffee pot, they were blowing their budget on individually priced coffees! Well, you had better believe the buck stops here. I quickly put an end to that waste and fraud, just like I’m going to do when I reach the White House.”
The members of Virginia Voters for Romney were reportedly nonplussed to learn of the buyout. Ken Green, a Richmond-area contractor and founding member, told reporters that after acquiring the organization, Romney initiated what he referred to as a ‘top-down restructuring’.
“We all thought that sounded really complicated,” Green said. “But really it just involved firing a bunch of our older members and letting our receptionist go. And they were all volunteers, so I’m not sure how that even worked,” he said, adding, “now, when you call our headquarters, you get some guy in India.”