WASHINGTON -- The Senate campaign of Minnesota businessman Mike McFadden is in town pushing a message: Investment banking is not the same as private equity.
Or, in political terms: McFadden is not the failed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Armed with a D.C. based public relations and political consultant, McFadden's campaign manager Brad Herold sat down with reporters Tuesday to explain his boss's 20-year career as an investment banker.
McFadden first started Goldsmith Agio Helms, where he was a partner, and then was a co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market, once Goldsmith was acquired. McFadden took a leave of absence last year to run against incumbent Democrat Sen. Al Franken.
McFadden's handlers said Wednesday that investment banking differs from private equity in that there is scant operational control beyond simply helping others buy and sell companies. A struggling company will hire an investment banker, for example, to find a buyer and once a suitable buyer is found, the investment banker is usually done with the deal, campaign officials said.
Whatever happens next is now in the new buyer's -- not the investment banker's -- control, campaign officials say.
Even if a company is chopped up and sold off or moved to Mexico. Over his two decades in investment banking, McFadden's hands were in roughly 100 $10 to $150 million deals, his campaign said. In some of those deals, other media have reported the sold-off companies shed jobs, closed plants or sent off jobs south of the border.
McFadden's campaign said Wednesday, an investment banker wouldn't necessarily know the outcome beyond the first transaction.
"We had this briefing to highlight ... what Mike's company actually did and how that's different from other types of finance businesses," Herold said. "We had it so that when the false attacks start flying from the Democrats and Al Franken, that people will be able to know the truth."
Franken's campaign spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff issued a statement:
"This election is going to be a choice between two candidates, and if Mike McFadden survives the Republican primary, Minnesotans are going to learn about his entire record -- both on the issues and as an investment banker."
McFadden couldn't make it to the briefing, Herold said, because the state GOP convention is 23 days away and he's running around the state meeting as many delegates as possible.
"There aren't delegates here," Herold said, from the offices of the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Capitol Hill.
McFadden is running against a couple of other people, but the other leading contender is state Sen. Julianne Ortman. Both are vying for delegates' endorsement the weekend of May 30 at the state GOP convention in Rochester.